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Weight retires, joins Islanders hockey staff

by Greg Picker
UNIONDALE, N.Y. -- New York Islanders captain and four-time NHL All-Star Doug Weight announced his retirement Thursday, ending his 19-year NHL career. Weight will stay with the organization becoming an assistant coach and special assistant to Islanders General Manager Garth Snow.
Weight, a 1990 second-round pick of the New York Rangers, played the majority of his career with the Edmonton Oilers and St. Louis Blues before signing three years ago with the Islanders.

"Of course saying goodbye and never going to play again in the League is terrible. It's tough," Weight said. "It's a sickening, sad feeling, but it's also a new chapter to hopefully the greatest part of my life."
The 2006 Stanley Cup winner with the Carolina Hurricanes retires after missing 139 games over the past three seasons due to injury.
After a tribute video with highlights of a career in which he recorded 278 goals and 1,033 points in 1,238 games, Weight reflected on his career with gratitude for all the experiences involved in being an NHL player.

"So many great things go along with playing hockey," Weight said. "The experience of being part of a team, lifelong relationships, camaraderie, the adrenaline of wins and losses, the discipline and dedication of a player to succeed as well as the respect and humility that is paramount in reaching your goals."

"Of course saying goodbye and never going to play again in the League is terrible. It's tough. It's a sickening, sad feeling, but it's also a new chapter to hopefully the greatest part of my life."
-- Doug Weight

Weight spoke about each of the six NHL teams he played for during his career -- the Rangers, Oilers, Blues, Hurricanes, Ducks and Islanders. He was forced to pause and collect himself with a sip of water after going over his time with each organization.
The decision for Weight was one that had been a possibility in recent years because of nagging back injuries, but one he didn't make for sure until recently.   

"I don't think you're ready until that season because you're always trying to get back, and over the last month I was fairly sure," Weight said.
Weight attempted to make a comeback during the last five games of last season, but was warned by doctors that continuing to play posed too great a risk. Instead, he spent time near the end of the season on the bench, honing his skills as an assistant coach.
Weight noticeably was teary-eyed during the press conference, and at one point was offered a tissue by Snow, who was sitting next to him. Weight thanked the GM that brought him to Long Island in the summer of 2008 and whom he will soon serve with in the front office.

"I want to thank you for bringing me here and showing me so much confidence," said Weight. "I only wish I could have stayed healthy longer and played the way I know I could have."

He had 64 points in 107 games with the Islanders over parts of three seasons.
Snow said he will work closely with Weight in helping develop a team that has missed the playoffs four out of the past five seasons.

"As an assistant coach, he'll predominantly work on the power play. I think he has a lot to offer in that area," Snow said. "Obviously with the production he's had in this League and international tournaments, the wealth of knowledge, it's a great hockey mind that can help get our team to the next level."
Islanders owner Charles Wang also spoke about how excited he is to have Weight stay with the organization.

"I think it's a wonderful thing," Wang said. "I think (it will help) the fact that Doug just played last season, is with us now and the players know what kind of character he brings."
Also in attendance was Weight's good friend and former NHL player Bill Guerin. Weight and Guerin played together in Edmonton, St. Louis and with the Isles. They also won gold medals together for the U.S. at the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, and silver medals at the 2002 Olympics.

Guerin believes Weight will succeed in his new off-ice role.

"I think Dougie's going to be a very valuable asset to the New York Islanders," he said. "On the ice, off the ice, he is a valued leader in the community now, and the value he offers those young players is incredible."
Known as being one of the wittier players in the NHL when speaking with the media, Weight has considered becoming a broadcaster and will be seen during the Stanley Cup Final as an analyst for the NHL Network.

"I've tinkered with it over the past," Weight said. "I think one thing I love to do, as you could tell, is talk about hockey."
For now though, the possibility of a career behind the microphone will have to wait as Weight wants to help be a part of the revitalization of the Islanders.

"The sense I have from being around the Islanders, the desire to win here, I want to help build a team, build a winner any way I can and be a part of that," he said.
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