Canadian forward Jason Spezza, who maintained a high level of play throughout his 19-year NHL career, along with numerous stints with the Canadian national team, today announced his retirement from hockey, opting to join the front office of his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs.
The second overall pick of the Ottawa Senators in the 2001 NHL Draft, Spezza would spend the first eleven of his 19 pro seasons in the nation’s capital, playing as a key part of the Senators’ offensive prowess of the early 2000’s, helping them to their first (and so far only) Stanley Cup appearance in 2007, leading the playoffs in points with 22. A two-time NHL All-Star with the Senators, Spezza was named team captain in his final season there, before being traded to the Dallas Stars in 2014. Spezza would spend five seasons in Texas, playing in his 1,000th career game with the team in 2018, but a desire to return to Canada brought him to the Maple Leafs in 2019, where he would spend his final three seasons. Over his almost two-decade career, Spezza amassed 363 goals and 995 points in 1,248 career NHL games, along with another 76 points in 97 career playoff games.
Due to his high promise as a prospect, Spezza played at a rare three World Junior Championships for Canada (2000-02), capturing Bronze in 2000 and 2001, along with a Silver in 2002. He would make his senior team debut at the 2008 World Championships, the first of four tournament appearances (2008, 2009, 2011, 2015), capturing a pair of Silver medals in 2008 and 2009, bookending his national team career with a Gold medal in 2015, where he also was named to the tournament All-Star Team and as Best Forward, leading the tournament in points with 14, amassing a total of 63 points in 75 Team Canada games.
Over the course of his long career, Spezza would capture the IHLC on five occasions, the first being in the lead-up to the 2001 World Juniors, and the final coming 14 years later, en route to his World Championship Gold in Prague. We wish Jason and his family the very best for his retirement and the things to come!
Photo Credit: Hockey Canada – IIHF – HHOF – IOC