VIDEO: Ryan Smyth retires, greeted by Canucks in postgame ceremony
Ryan Smyth played the final game of his NHL career on Saturday night in Edmonton and the emotional postgame scene included the entire Canucks team coming out to congratulate him.
Saturday night in Edmonton was not only the final hockey night of the season for the Oilers, but it was the final game of the career of Ryan Smyth.
On Friday the veteran forward officially announced that he would be retiring when this season finished and that gave him one final home game with the Oilers to say goodbye. What a swansong it was.
The night was already emotionally charged as Smyth, also known as Captain Canada, was closing out a career that spanned 1,270 games over 20 seasons, 15 of those seasons spent with the Oilers. Smyth was on the ice for the final shift and when the horn sounded, that's when the awesome season began.
It started with Smyth embracing all the members of his team, openly crying as he suited the Oilers fans giving him a standing ovation. The officials came over to offer their congrats and then, coming back onto the ice from their tunnel, the Vancouver Canucks all piled out to shake hands with Smyth, one at a time like a post-playoff series handshake. What a really awesome scene.
The celebration of his career continued for a while longer with Smyth's family joining him. It was like he didn't quite want his final game to end.
Smyth let his teammates know on Friday that he was about to spend his last two days as a professional hockey player in an emotional yet brief speech in the dressing room.
In his 1,270 games, Smyth finishes with 386 goals and 456 assists in a career that also included stints with the Avalanche, Kings and the Islanders for just 18 games. As an Oiler he had 296 goals, 335 assists in 971 regular-season games. He also helped lead the Oilers to the Stanley Cup Final in 2005-06.
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