|Senators assistant coach Luke Richardson receives a gift from Pavel Kubina on behalf of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the team that drafted him into the NHL, during a pre-game retirement ceremony at Scotiabank Place (Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images).
Twenty-one seasons of National Hockey League service came full circle for Luke Richardson on Saturday night.
The Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs paid tribute to the veteran of 1,417 NHL games in a retirement ceremony before their game at Scotiabank Place. It was a most fitting choice for the occasion, given that Richardson was drafted into the league by the Leafs in 1987 (first round, seventh overall) and finished his career in his hometown of Ottawa.
Richardson, who was joined on the ice by his wife, Stephanie, and daughters Morgan and Daron for the pre-game ceremony, received gifts from both teams. Leafs alternate captain Pavel Kubina presented him with a framed game sheet from his first NHL game, along with a photo from his initial season in the league.
On behalf of the Senators, president/CEO Roy Mlakar and general manager Bryan Murray gave Richardson a framed portrait by Canadian sports artist Tony Harris. A video retrospective of his career was also played on the arena scoreboard.
Between Toronto and Ottawa, Richardson's NHL career also took him to the Edmonton Oilers, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Counting playoffs, Richardson logged nearly 1,500 games in the NHL. The end of the line came in November, when he began making the transition to the coaching side of the organization.
He said at the time he was leaving the game with no regrets.
"It was a long career. You can't have any regrets in that respect," he told otttawasenators.com. "I was fortunate to play a long time and get a lot of opportunities and have a good career. I enjoyed every minute of it.
"It's the best league to play in if you're a hockey player."Alfredsson plays for a cause
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson
was among 25 NHL players making donations to Right To Play based on minutes played in a game this weekend. The donations were made on behalf of a coach or role model who has instilled the positive values of sport in them and helped them succeed in hockey and in life. Alfredsson, a Right To Play Athlete Ambassador, has chosen his father, Hasse, as his role model.
Alfredsson made a donation of $1,000 per minute played. With ice time of 17:52, his contribution to Right To Play will be in excess of $17,000.
Funds raised will be used to support Right To Play's sport and play programs in 23 countries across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America. More than 600,000 children benefit from Right To Play activities each week.
Fans can also make donations by logging on to www.righttoplay.com