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Jason Spezza retires, joins Maple Leafs’ front office

May 14, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN;   Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza reacts after a loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in game seven of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza said Sunday he is retiring after 19 seasons as an NHL player and will take a front-office role with the team.

Effective immediately, he will become the special assistant to general manager Kyle Dubas.

A Toronto native, Spezza was the No. 2 overall pick by Ottawa in the 2001 NHL Draft. He spent 11 seasons with the Senators (2002-14), five with the Dallas Stars (2014-19) and the past three with the Maple Leafs.

“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,” Dubas said. “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, 38, played in 1,248 regular-season games and scored 995 points (363 goals, 632 assists). In 97 playoff games, he added 76 points (28 goals, 48 assists).

In the 2021-22 regular season, Spezza had 12 goals and 13 assists to go with 26 penalty minutes. He added an assist in five playoff games.

An All-Star in 2008 and 2012, Spezza remains second in Senators’ history in goals (251), assists (436) and points (687).

“Hockey has been my life’s work and to be able to come home to Toronto and bookend my playing career where it started was incredible,” Spezza said in a news release. “To the fans — in Ottawa, Dallas, Toronto and across the league — your impact on the game is immeasurable. I’ll never be able to replicate that feeling of stepping onto the ice to the roar of the crowd, but it is something I’ll always remember. Thank you.”

–Field Level Media