After 16 seasons and more than 1,000 games, Craig Conroy announced his retirement on Friday at a press conference in the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Once a long shot ever to reach the NHL as a sixth-round pick out of a New York high school, Conroy forged a long and distinguished career as a solid two-way player. He scored 182 goals and 542 points in 1,009 games with Montreal, St. Louis, Calgary and Los Angeles.
"I am retired," Conroy. "It is weird, because you know I always think I can play and be a player, but after taking time and sitting down with [President] Ken [King] and [interim General Manger] Jay [Feaster] and looking at everything ... I think I've come to grips with it and I'm good with it."
He will remain with the club as a special assistant to acting General Manager Jay Feaster.
"It's a little unwieldy; we'll probably try to work something else out on the business card," Feaster said. "We really are thrilled to have him on board. I think the service he'll be able to provide to this organization going forward will be just tremendous."
Conroy had a career-high 27 goals and 75 points in his first full season with the Flames, and scored at least 22 goals in three of his first four seasons after the trade. He had 6 goals and 17 points during the team's dramatic run to the 2004 Stanley Cup Final, where the Flames fell in Game 7 to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
After graduating from Northwood High School, he spent four successful college seasons at Clarkson and most of two seasons in the American Hockey League before a trade from Montreal to St. Louis in October 1996 helped pave a clearer path to regular NHL playing time. Conroy was traded to Calgary at the 2001 trade deadline along with a seventh-round pick (used to select David Moss) for Cory Stillman.
After signing with Los Angeles before the start of the 2005-06 season, the Flames reacquired Conroy in January 2007. The 39-year-old Conroy had 2 goals in 18 games this season before going unclaimed on waivers late last month.
The entire Flames roster showed up for the press conference.
"I want to say thanks to the guys. I know you got home late [from Atlanta]," Conroy said. "I could see Jarome saying, 'Do we have to go?' [Vice-President of Communications] Peter [Hanlon] probably forced everybody, but it does mean a lot to have all of you guys here."