On Sunday morning, Jason Spezza – in conjunction with the Toronto Maple Leafs – announced his retirement from professional hockey.
After 19 seasons within the NHL, the now 38-year-old has made the decision to move on from playing hockey, while remaining in the game. Maple Leafs’ general manger Kyle Dubas announced that Spezza will join the club’s front office team, effective immediately.
“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,” Dubas said. “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 skated in 1,248 regular season NHL contests, where he put up 363 goals and 995 points. He added another 28 goals and 76 points in 97 postseason matchups. Breaking into the league with the Ottawa Senators, Spezza spent 11 seasons in the nation’s capital, before moving on to Dallas for four years and then spending three seasons in Toronto, to which his career came to a close.
Spezza penned a short message that was released upon his announcement on Sunday:
“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.
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.”