Conroy retires, moves to Flames front office
Popular Calgary Flames centre Craig Conroy announced his retirement on Friday after more than 15 years in the NHL.
"I think I've come to grips with it and I'm good with it," said Conroy, who admitted to being emotional when waived by the club last week. "It's time to turn [the] chapter and go forward with my life."
Conroy, 39, went unclaimed by the rest of the NHL clubs and found the prospect of playing in the American Hockey League unpalatable. He hasn't played in the AHL since the 1996-97 season, at which point he established himself as a full-time NHLer while with St. Louis.
Conroy re-signed with Calgary for one year in August but was increasingly a healthy scratch after playing in the first two months of the season. He scored two goals in 18 games this season, which saw him reach 1,000 games in his career.
"Being a sixth-round draft choice I never thought I was going to play any games and being able to come in and play a thousand is special," he said.
Team president Ken King called Conroy as classy and as gracious a player as the Flames have ever had.
Acting Flames general manager Jay Feaster welcomed the college-educated Conroy to the front office as his special assistant.
"I'm gonna miss the guys, I'm gonna miss the locker room, but I'm still going to be around, I'm still going to be part of hockey, and that's all I've ever known for my whole life," said Conroy.
All of Conroy's teammates as well as his wife and children were on hand for the news conference Friday.
The Flames acquired Conroy in an early 2001 trade with the Blues, and spent the remainder of his career with the Flames except for 1½ years spent with the Los Angeles Kings beginning in 2005.
His most productive season was in 2001-02, when he tallied 25 goals and added 48 assists for the Flames.
He served as Calgary captain in the 2002-03 season and the following campaign had six goals and 11 assists in 26 games in the club's run to the brink of the Stanley Cup.
Conroy said he welcomed being able to stay in the Calgary area in large part because of the fans.
"Whether walking down the street the last week, or when we were making that [Stanley Cup] run, they've always treated me with nothing but respect," he said.
Conroy opted to sign a four-year deal as a free agent with Los Angeles in 2004. While his first season with the Kings went well, he struggled in the second and was dealt back to the Flames before the 2007 trade deadline.
For his career, Conroy has 182 goals, including 17 short-handed markers, and 360 assists in 1,009 NHL games. He was selected in the sixth round of the NHL Entry Draft in 1990 by Montreal, but played only 13 games for the Canadiens before moving on to the St. Louis organization.