Jason Spezza is retiring from the NHL. Following 19 seasons and three with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the veteran forward has decided to hang up his skates. Just five points shy of 1000, Spezza leaves the NHL with 995 points and 363 goals in the regular season. He added, 76 points in 97 playoff games.
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
Spezza has maintained for a couple of seasons now that he would only play for the Toronto Maple Leafs to finish out his career but after a disappointing first-round loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Maple Leafs are in for some changes. Among them could be that the team has told him they plan to go a different direction. On his way out, he took a number of pay cuts and a lesser role to play for the team he wanted to win with.
Spezza released a statement on his decision to retire:
Statement from Jason Spezza:
“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. 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.
As Mike Stephens of The Hockey News wrote:
Jason Spezza is an absolute animal. was an entrenched veteran who took every single optional skate. worked out for like 90 mins after every game. handled his diminishing role this year with more grace than I thought possible. just exactly who you want a hockey player to be.
GM Kyle Dubas said in a statement about Spezza: “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.”
Spezza Joining Maple Leafs Front Office
Dubas added, “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.” He will be the Special Assistant to Leafs GM Kyle Dubas. Pierre LeBrun of TSN writes, “Spezza has a chance to be a difference-maker in NHL management once he learns the ropes. This was always in the back of his mind playing career. Could see him as a GM somewhere one day.”
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