Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza has officially retired from the NHL, but he won’t be travelling too far.
After 19 seasons in the NHL, the Leafs announced today that Spezza has been brought onto the team’s front office as Special Assistant to General Manager Kyle Dubas.
“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 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 finished his career with 363 goals and 632 assists across 1,248 games. He told reporters earlier this month retirement was a possibility if he didn’t sign a new contract with the Leafs.
Spezza himself offered an emotional statement:
“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.
Spezza added that he’s excited for his new role with the team.
“I’m very grateful to the Leafs for the amazing opportunity to transition into this new role,” he said. “It enables me to continue to follow my passion; learn and live new experiences within the game I love.”