After 22 seasons in the NHL, Ray Whitney is finally calling it a career.
The man they called "The Wizard" made this long-expected news official on Wednesday, announcing his retirement via a release from his agency, CAA Sports.
“For the past 23 years, I have had the privilege of earning my living playing hockey in the National Hockey League. Along the way, I have made countless memories and friendships, which I will always cherish. Every city I played in, the fans welcomed my family and me with open arms, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that.
“I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of my teammates and coaches, especially the 2006 Stanley Cup team in Carolina. I was lucky to have great agents at CAA Sports, who stood by me through the good times and the tough times. I want to say a special thank you to my parents, who gave me the chance to do what I loved.
“Finally, I want to thank my wife Brijet, and our three beautiful children, who have been incredibly supportive of me throughout my career. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to live my dream.”
Originally drafted by the Sharks with the 23rd pick of the 1991 NHL draft, Whitney was the quintessential small forward, cerebral, quick and crafty with a fierce competitive streak. While his skill was never in question, his size (5'-10", 180 pounds) was an impediment in the Dead Puck Era. He bounced around the league, moving from San Jose to Edmonton, Florida, Columbus, Detroit, Carolina, Phoenix and finally Dallas. In time he proved that he could play bigger than his size, amassing 385 goals and 1,064 points in 1,330 career games. He posted a career-high 83 points (32-51) with the Hurricanes in 2006-07, one year after he helped lead the team to the Stanley Cup.
Whitney skated in 69 games for the Stars last season, scoring nine goals and 32 points, but was limited mostly to fourth line and power play duties under new coach Lindy Ruff. He became a free agent last summer, but the 42-year-old never could find a deal that made sense for himself and his young family.
From all of us, congrats on a great career and best of luck with whatever comes next.