Veteran defenceman Dan Girardi has announced his retirement after 13 seasons in the NHL.
“I would like to thank all my coaches, family, friends and teammates for supporting me throughout my entire hockey career,” Girardi said in a statement released by the Tampa Bay Lightning. “I want to thank the New York Rangers for giving me a chance to fulfill my childhood dream of playing in the NHL. Throughout those 11 incredible years I have made so many friends on and off the ice. I bled Ranger blue and gave it my all for my team, the city and the Garden faithful. I also want to thank the Tampa Bay Lightning for helping me continue my career by giving me a chance to play for such an amazing organization, city and fan base. The last two years in Tampa Bay have been so much fun for me and my family. I will always fondly remember my time here. Finally, I want to thank my wife Pamela for always being there for me and holding down the fort and to Landon and Shaye for always being daddy’s No. 1 fans.”
You were an absolute warrior on the ice and one of the best people in the game off of it, G.
You will always have fans and a home in Tampa. Congrats on an incredible career!
: https://t.co/W4O96csoED pic.twitter.com/M3Tn8Sbr01
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) September 20, 2019
Girardi, 35, broke into the NHL with the Rangers as an undrafted free agent during the 2006-07 season and went on to play 11 years in New York. He joined the Lightning as a free agent in 2017 and played two more seasons in Tampa. Girardi appeared in the playoffs 12 times over his 13 seasons, reaching the Eastern Conference Final four times and the Stanley Cup Final once.
A native of Welland, Ont., Girardi retires as the all-time leader in blocked shots — since the stat started being counted in 2005 — with 1,954. He also scored 56 goals and 264 points, and posted a plus-78 rating.
“I gave my all every single night and left it all out on the ice,” Girardi said. “Now it’s time for the next chapter of my life to begin and I couldn’t be happier… and so is my body.”