Ryan Smyth has been the face of the Edmonton Oilers for 15 out of the last 18 years and was instrumental in leading the team to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006, but now that era is coming to an end as he is retiring as the end of the season.
“There comes a time in my life where you have to turn the page and today I’m doing that,” Smyth said. “As hard as it is to say goodbye to the game of hockey, I’m blessed that God has given me the ability and the passion for this great game and to have had the opportunity to play for as long as I have.”
Smyth, 38, has played 18 seasons in the NHL with stops with the New York Islanders, Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings, but he will be remembered for his time with Edmonton where he gave the franchise it’s highest moments in the post-Wayne Gretzky era.
The Banff, Alberta native was the sixth overall pick in the 1994 draft by Edmonton and made his NHL debut in the 1994-1995 season. Smyth has 386 goals and 456 assists in 1,269 regular-season games with 631 of those points coming in 970 games in an Oilers sweater and was one of the top power forwards of his generation.
“There are many players that have worn the Edmonton Oilers jersey, but there are no players who wore the jersey that had more passion than Ryan Smyth,” Oilers general manager Craig MacTavish said.
Smyth was also a part of Team Canada in the 2002 and 2006 Olympics and played in seven straight world championships.