Phaneuf on Salute-Gate and why he chose Toronto for his retirement ceremony
Dion Phaneuf has officially retired after a 14-season career in the NHL.
Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun reports the Toronto Maple Leafs will honour Phaneuf, who served as captain of the team from 2010 to 2016, in a pregame ceremony ahead of facing the Nashville Predators on Tuesday.
“I wish we had had more success here,” Phaneuf told Simmons of his time in Toronto. “I take responsibility for that. I was honoured to be captain. I left everything I had out there.”
Phaneuf, 36, hasn't played in the NHL since he was bought out of the final two years of his contract by the Los Angeles Kings in 2019.
A first-round pick of the Calgary Flames in 2003, Phaneuf has 137 goals and 494 points in 1,048 NHL games with the Kings, Ottawa Senators, Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames.
Phaneuf was traded from the Maple Leafs to the Senators in 2016 and played a significant role in Ottawa's run to the Eastern Conference final one season later, when they lost in double-overtime of Game 7 to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. It was the only time in his career he advanced past the first round.
“You can’t help but think about that,” he said. “You always want to win a championship. I’m disappointed I never got to win, but I’m proud of the player I was. Proud to have played more than a thousand games.”
Phaneuf was named to three All-Star Games during his career.
He released the following statement on Tuesday, via the NHL Players' Association:
"As I look back, it’s hard to encapsulate and thank the great number of people who supported and guided me both as a player and a person throughout my career. I was very fortunate to play in the NHL for a long time and I’m thankful first and foremost to my Mom, Dad and brother for their untiring support on and off the ice. My heartfelt love and appreciation also goes to my wife, Elisha, and our daughter.
“I also owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the many coaches, staff and teammates I had the privilege to work alongside through the years. At a very young age, Brent Sutter provided me the guidance in Red Deer to develop good habits in becoming a good pro; my first NHL GM and coach, Darryl Sutter, gave me my start in Calgary and showed me what it takes to be a top player in the NHL; I’m indebted to Brian Burke for bringing me to Toronto and making me captain for one of the most historic franchises in league history; my billets, Dan and Christine Doyle, and so many teammates from the Maple Leafs, Flames, Senators and Kings who will remain friends well past our playing days.
“A great thanks to the entire Toronto Maple Leafs organization, their ownership and leadership Larry Tanenbaum and Brendan Shanahan for providing me with this opportunity to retire with such love and support here in Toronto. It was a special honour to represent the Maple Leafs as team captain a point of pride and honour that I will carry with me forever.
“And finally, to the fans a very special thank you for all the support over the years. Your passion drives us all.”