Jason Spezza announced his retirement after 19 cupless seasons in the NHL.
The last three with Toronto. He’s agreed to join Dubas in the Leafs’ front office.
Jason Spezza announced today his retirement from the NHL after 19 seasons. He will be joining the Maple Leafs' front office effective immediately. #LeafsForever
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) May 29, 2022
NHL.com: “It is difficult to describe just how much of a lasting and positive impact that Jason Spezza made in his three seasons with the Maple Leafs,” said General Manager Kyle Dubas. “Jason’s passion for the game of hockey, his desire to continuously push himself and his teammates to improve, as well as his capacity to make strong connections with all members of the organization, have been invaluable. Though today marks the end of his tenure with us as a player, it is a pleasure to have him join our front office to impart all that he has to offer.”
Spezza, 38, recorded 995 points (363G, 632A) through 1,248 career regular season NHL games split between the Maple Leafs, Dallas Stars and Ottawa Senators while collecting 76 points (28G, 48A) in 97 career Stanley Cup Playoff games. The two-time NHL All-Star (2008, 2012) ranks in the top 100 on the NHL’s all-time list for games played (t-96th), assists (80th) and points (94th). In addition to serving as the eighth captain in Senators franchise history, Spezza sits sixth in all-time club games played (686), and second in goals (251), assists (436) and points (687) through his 11 seasons in Ottawa.
“I love hockey. Since the age of three, I’ve been lucky enough to live out my dream and do what I love for so many years,” said Spezza. “I eat, sleep, dream hockey and it’s always been there for me. There are too many people to thank individually but I’m forever grateful and indebted to the Ottawa Senators, Dallas Stars, Toronto Maple Leafs and Hockey Canada for their support and belief in me as a player and person. To my teammates, coaches, support staff, trainers and equipment staff – a heartful thank you for everything. Through countless hours at the rink – whether on the ice or with those behind the scenes – I have been so fortunate to have forged friendships for life.
Hockey has been my life’s work and to be able to come home to Toronto and bookend my playing career where it started was incredible. To the fans – in Ottawa, Dallas, Toronto and across the league – your impact on the game is immeasurable. I’ll never be able to replicate that feeling of stepping onto the ice to the roar of the crowd, but it is something I’ll always remember. Thank you.
Looking forward, I’m very grateful to the Leafs for the amazing opportunity to transition into this new role. It enables me to continue to follow my passion; learn and live new experiences within the game I love.
Lastly, none of this happens without the unwavering support of my parents, siblings, wife, and kids. You have always been my cornerstone.”
Spezza is one of the most universally liked players in the NHL for a reason.
He never had an ego. He played where and when he was told to. When told to improve the defensive part of his game as an AHLr he did. Despite being the second overall pick in 2001 he spent time in the AHL working on what he needed to work on to be the player he wanted to become.
He never said no to a chance to play for Canada.
He never complained (even when Babcock cruelly sat him for his Leaf opener 3 years ago). He just kept working on himself and the game he loved so he could be READY.
Stories of his work ethic and leadership ability are as legendary as that fucked up toe curve he used to score 995 points in 1248 games, but it’s the person everyone talks about. Not the player. That’s how you know Jason Spezza is a good human being. As much of a superstar as he was in his prime, everyone talks about Jason being an incredible human being.
Jason Spezza produced some amazing highlights in his career, including this incredible overtime winner in 2005. 😱
What is your favorite Jason Spezza moment? pic.twitter.com/d3f5vf4W4i
— NHL (@NHL) May 29, 2022
We didn’t deserve him when he signed and we don’t deserve him now but am I ever glad he’s staying. For him and for this team who need to learn about good character and values from someone who lives it every day.
All that’s left is for someone to please explain why Jason was a healthy scratch down the stretch/in the playoffs but was trusted enough to spend the last 1:30 on the ice against Tampa in game 7 on the ice.
Seems weird to me.
Thanks, Jason. And sorry about sending interns to your hotel room in Toronto to wake you up during your series with the Leafs 15 years ago. Our bad.