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Ex-River Rat calls it quits

By Phil Janack
Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Journeyman defenseman Jason Smith announced his retirement today after 14 seasons and 1,008 games in the National Hockey League.

Smith, 35, played 63 games for the Ottawa Senators in 2008-09, his fifth NHL team. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Calgary native was a first-round draft pick of the New Jersey Devils, taken 18th overall in 1992.

In 1993-94, Smith played 20 games on the inaugural Albany River Rats team, with nine points (6g, 3a) and 31 penalty minutes. He had two assists in seven regular season games the following season, but skated in 11 of 12 AHL playoff games as the Rats captured their only Calder Cup championship.

It would be the last minor-league stint for Smith, regarded as one of the game's best shot-blockers. Edmonton's longtime captain, Smith had 169 points (41g, 128a) and 1,099 PIM in the NHL for the Devils, Maple Leafs, Oilers, Flyers and Senators.

Smith reached the Stanley Cup finals in 2006 with Edmonton, losing to the Carolina Hurricanes.

"I have been fortunate to have played in the NHL for 16 years. I have played alongside many great teammates and for organizations that I was proud to have been a part of," Smith told NHL.com. "I would like to thank all of my teammates, owners, coaches, managers and staff that I have had the privilege of working with through the years and would like to recognize the fans for their tremendous support.

"It has been an honour and a privilege for me to have played in over 1,000 career National Hockey League games, and I would especially like to thank my wife, Wendy, my daughters, Britney and Jordan, my mother and father, my brother and sister, and my many loyal friends for their support through the ups and downs, and for always being there for me."

 
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