"Today is a bittersweet day": Ex-Canucks defenceman Del Zotto retires

Sep 6 2023, 11:30 pm

After 14 years of pro hockey, which included 736 NHL games, former Vancouver Canucks defenceman Michael Del Zotto announced his retirement today.

Del Zotto made the announcement in a lengthy Instagram post, where he was congratulated by Brock Boeser.

“Today is a bittersweet day,” said Del Zotto. “I was fortunate enough to play 14 years of professional hockey. The blood, sweat, tears, broken bones, triumph, heartbreak and sacrifice were worth every second.”

A Canuck for parts of two seasons in 2017-18 and 2018-19, Del Zotto’s greatest achievement in Vancouver was the penalty he drew in overtime of the final game the Sedins played at Rogers Arena. It set up a storybook finish for Henrik and Daniel, who combined for the OT winner on the ensuing power play.

He was otherwise best known for being the team DJ in the dressing room

Del Zotto was traded to the Anaheim Ducks in January of his second season with the Canucks, in a deal that saw Luke Schenn come to Vancouver. The Ducks flipped him to the St. Louis Blues a month later. He would go on to lift the Stanley Cup later that spring as a black ace on the Blues roster.

The 33-year-old’s best years were with the New York Rangers, where he scored 121 points in 292 games from 2009 to 2014. He played for eight NHL teams, which also included the Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Ottawa Senators.

Del Zotto signed a contract with the Florida Panthers last summer and was traded to the Anaheim Ducks in December, but played the entire 2022-23 season in the AHL.

Del Zotto made note of the “amazing relationships” he made, including the kids he met at Ronald McDonald in Vancouver.

“As athletes, we can become consumed with each season, game period or shift, but hockey is just a game,” he said. “These relationships often kept me in check and reminded me about what was most important in life. Having the opportunity to make a positive impact on others and give back to the community was the most rewarding part of my career. It is a role I will continue to cherish.

“Spending 14 years in a pressure-packed and heavily scrutinized job feels like a lifetime in itself, one with plenty of highs and lows. I am proud of the life lessons I learned along the way. I have made many mistakes and have learned from them all. I never wanted to be just known as a hockey player. I want to be known as Michael Del Zotto, period. I am proud of who I have become today.

“None of this would have been possible without the unconditional love and support from my family. From the moment I put skates on at the age of 3, they were there to guide me and give me every opportunity to live out my dream. My accomplishments are just as much theirs as they are mine.

“This version of myself is ready to take on the next chapter of life full steam ahead. I am ready to explore the world and be challenged in new ways. Most importantly, I am excited for more time with my family and the opportunity to make up for all the quality time I’ve missed.”


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A post shared by Michael Del Zotto (@mdzofficial)

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