Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza announced today his retirement from the National Hockey League after 19 seasons. With his announcement, Spezza will be joining the Maple Leafs' front office as Special Assistant to General Manager Kyle Dubas 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," 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.
Internationally, Spezza has represented Canada at the IIHF World Championship four times (2008, 2009, 2011, 2015), the IIHF World Junior Championship three times (2000, 2001, 2002) and the Spengler Cup in 2012. Spezza won a gold (2015) and two silver medals (2008, 2009) at the IIHF World Championship and captured a silver (2002) and two bronze medals (2000, 2001) at the IIHF World Junior Championship. He also won the 2012 Spengler Cup with Team Canada.
Spezza was originally selected by Ottawa in the first round (2nd overall) of the 2001 NHL Draft.
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," 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."