Monday, July 4, 2022

Spieza announces retirement, will join Leafs front office

TORONTO ( Associated Press) — Veteran Maple Leafs forward Jason Spaeza announced his retirement on Sunday after a 19-season NHL career.

The 38-year-old is moving into the Maple Leafs front office as a special assistant to GM Kyle Dabas.

Ranked second overall by Ottawa in the 2001 draft, Spezza spent his first 11 seasons with the Ottawa Senators before joining the Dallas Stars in 2014 and Toronto in 2019.

Spieza finished with 995 points (363 goals and 632 assists) in 1,248 regular-season NHL games, with 76 points (28 goals and 48 assists) in 97 playoff games.

The two-time NHL All-Star (2008, 2012) ranked in the top 100 of the NHL’s career list for games played (ranked 96th), assists (80th) and points (94th).

He had 12 goals and 13 assists in 71 games this season, including one more assist in five playoff games.

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“Hockey has been my life’s work and it was incredible to be able to come home to Toronto and book my playing career,” Spieza said in a statement. “To the fans – in Ottawa, Dallas, Toronto and the league – your impact on the game is immeasurable. I will never be able to repeat that feeling of stepping on the ice at the roar of the crowd, but it is something I will always remember.” Thank You.”

The eighth captain in Ottawa franchise history, Spaeza is sixth in games played (686), and sixth in his 11 seasons with the Senators in goals (251), assists (436), and points (687).

Spazza added seasoned know-how to the Leafs during his time in Toronto, often playing a big role with the team off the ice.

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“It’s hard to describe how lasting and positive the impact Jason Spaeza made in his three seasons with the Maple Leafs,” Dabas said. “Jason’s passion for the game of hockey, his desire to continually improve himself and his teammates, as well as his ability to build strong relationships with all members of the organization, is invaluable.

“Although his stint with us as a player comes to an end today, it is a pleasure that he has joined our front office to provide whatever he has to offer.”

Spaeza represented Canada at four World Championships (2008, 2009, 2011, 2015), three World Junior Championships (2000, 2001, 2002) and the Spengler Cup in 2012.

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More Associated Press NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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