Jason Spezza joins Dustin Brown and Patrick Marleau in retirement

Jason Spezza retires
Mar 5, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Kings right wing Dustin Brown (23) defends Toronto Maple Leafs center Jason Spezza (19) as he skates the puck down ice in the first period of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

This appears to be the summer of some big retirements as three of hockey’s best have hung up their skates.

On Sunday, Maple Leafs forward Jason Spezza became the third significant retirement this offseason. After 19 seasons in the NHL, he will move from the ice to the front-office in Toronto as a special assistant to GM Kyle Dubas.

Jason Spezza retires

“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 in a statement. “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 1248 games and recorded 995 points playing with the Ottawa Senators, Dallas Stars, and Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Toronto native was the second overall selection by the Sens in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. In 11 season with Ottawa he ranks second in franchise scoring with 687 points.

“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.”

Farewell to Patrick Marleau and Dustin Brown

patrick marleau
Apr 6, 2021; San Jose, California, USA; San Jose Sharks center Patrick Marleau (12) celebrates after scoring a goal during the second period against the Anaheim Ducks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Marleau retired from the NHL after an incredible 23-year career that sees him leave as the all-time leader in games played at 1779.

“Thank you, hockey,” he wrote in an essay for The Players’ Tribune. “For the lessons. The laughs. The tears. You let me live out my dreams.”

Marleau, 42, played 1,607 contests for the San Jose Sharks, who selected him second overall in the 1997 NHL Draft. He also made pitstops in Toronto and Pittsburgh collecting 1197 points. He did not play this season.

“I came to San Jose as a 17-year-old boy. I had big dreams and you showed faith in me from day one,” Marleau wrote. “Thank you for allowing me to put that jersey on, year after year, decade after decade. I hope I have left a history that you and the city can be proud of.”

Also retiring this season after the Los Angeles Kings were eliminated by the Edmonton Oilers was Dustin Brown.

Brown, 37, played 18 seasons all with the Kings and was the captain of both Stanley Cup wins in 2012 and 2014. He finishes his career with 712 points in 1295 games.

“I can walk away knowing I did my best,” Brown said Friday during an emotional news conference with his family at the Kings’ training complex. “The Kings are in a better spot than when I arrived.”