Retiring ex-Flames, Leafs centre Matt Stajan cherishes 'lifetime of memories'
Mississauga, Ont., native had 413 points in 1,003 NHL regular-season games
Matt Stajan has retired from pro hockey following 14 seasons in the NHL.
"As a kid growing up in Mississauga … it was my dream to one day play in the NHL," Stajan said in a statement. "To have had this dream come true, and have been able to play the sport that I love so much for so many years, is something I feel extremely fortunate and grateful for.
"The memories that I have made will truly last a lifetime."
Off the ice, Stajan has had deep ties to Calgary's Foothills Medical Centre following the death of his first-born child, Emerson, shortly after berth in 2014.
2nd-round pick in 2002
The hospital has renamed one of its emergency pods to honour Emerson and the Emerson Stajan Foundation also has been created.
Drafted by the Maple Leafs in the second round in 2002, Stajan played five-plus seasons in Toronto before he was traded to Calgary, where he played over eight seasons.
An effective two-way centre, he also earned a reputation for being a dependable contributor on the ice who played the game with intelligence and selflessness.
Matthew Tkachuk and Mark Giordano of the Flames and one-time Maple Leafs defenceman Luke Schenn called Stajan "one of the best teammates" in their careers.
'That special teammate that everyone talks about'
"When I came to Toronto as an 18-year-old, he was the guy that went out of his way to make me feel comfortable and did whatever he could to include me in everything, with all the veteran guys on the team," Schenn said in a news release from the NHL Players' Association.
"He was also very competitive on the ice, very consistent and could play any role on your team."
Added Tkachuk: "The way he was able to connect with every single player made him that special teammate that everyone talks about. … Other than losing to him at the card table, I wish him all the best in retirement because he has earned it!"
Stajan, who lives in Calgary with his wife Katie and their two sons, set a career-high in points with 57 during the 2009-10 season, finishing the campaign with 16 points in 27 games for the Flames after being part of the seven-player deal with Toronto.
Among his NHL highlights:
In 2015, Stajan scored the series-winning goal against Vancouver in Game 6 of the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
He became the 317th skater in NHL history to play 1,000 games when he reached the milestone on March 21, 2018 during a home game.
With files from CBC Sports