New Jersey Devils forward, Patrik Elias on Friday announced his retirement from the National Hockey League after 20 seasons, all with New Jersey.
The two-time Stanley Cup Champion will be honored by the Devils over the course of Fan Appreciation Week. The team will also raise his number 26 to the rafters prior to a game during the 2017-2018 NHL season.
On Tuesday, April 4th, at 4:00 PM, Elias will hold a press conference prior to the Devils home game against the Philadelphia Flyers. He will also drop the puck in a ceremonial face off before the start of the game against the Flyers.
On Friday, April 7th, the Devils will hold an open practice, at the RWJ Barnabas Health Hockey House, to give the fans a chance to watch Elias help the team prepare for their final game. On Saturday, April 8th, Elias will take his final lap around the Prudential Center ice, as he participates in the pregame skate against the New York Islanders.
During the three games over Fan Appreciation Week (Flyers 4/4, Islanders 4/8 & Pittsburgh Penguins 4/6), the Devils will share special moments and tributes throughout the games.
Season Ticket Members will have exclusive access to photo opportunities throughout the week. The team will contact the Season Ticket Members via email. Additional information detailing all the events during the week can be found at www.newjerseydevils.com/pattyslastlap.
In a statement put out by the organization, Elias said, “After 18 seasons, I am pleased to announce that I will be retiring from the National Hockey League, having played my last game with the New Jersey Devils. For the past few months, I have weighed this decision both physically and mentally. I am happy to say this provides me and my family with closure.”
He continued, “I came here 22 years ago to play hockey, to do what I loved since I was five years old. I was able to play with great teammates, embrace the camaraderie and team spirit of being a Devil, and bring home a Stanley Cup on two occasions.”
Elias also went on to show his gratitude to the organization and his family saying, “I want to thank the ownership and management for not only supporting me, but allowing me the time to make this difficult decision. It is extraordinarily humbling that my number 26 will hang next to four of my former teammates. I am so proud to have played for one team, one organization over the course of my entire career.
I also want to thank my family and friends.
Off the ice, you grow great relationships, I have been here 22 years. I have been welcomed into the community and New Jersey has truly become a second home to me and my family.
To the fans, it is nice to know how much I meant to them, and I want them to know how much they have meant to me. I am looking forward to this week, my last lap and next year’s celebration.
Lastly, I want to express my love and thanks to my parents, my lovely wife, Petra, and my beautiful daughters, Sophia and Kaila.”
Next season, Elias will become the fifth player in the history of the franchise to have his number raised to the rafters, when his number 26 joins, number 4 (Scott Stevens) number 3 (Ken Daneyko) number 27 (Scott Niedermayer) and number 30 (Martin Brodeur) immortalized in history.
Managing Partner of the Devils and Prudential Center, Josh Harris said, “Patrik Elias helped to create the foundation for what it means, and what it takes, to be a part of the New Jersey Devils organization. This moment marks the end of an incredible playing career, but we look forward to celebrating Patty’s 21 seasons of excellence and the legacy he is leaving for generations to enjoy.”
David Blitzer, Co-Managing Partner of the Devils and Prudential Center added, “With two Stanley Cups to his credit, Patrik is one of the most decorated Devils in team history and a player that has defined two decades of fans in New Jersey. Patty’s demeanor and work ethic on the ice are only second to his character off the ice, and it will be a pleasure honor a champion like him.”
Selected by the Devils in the second round of the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, the 51st overall selection played 18 full seasons in New Jersey as he helped them capture the Stanley Cup in 2000 and 2003. A member four Eastern Conference Championship teams, he also helped lead the team to Stanley Cup appearances in 2001 and 2012.
The Devils all-time leader in goals (408) assists (617) and points (1,025) ranks third in franchise history in games played (1,240). Only Daneyko (1,283) and Brodeur (1,259) have appeared in more games for the Devils.
His 96 points during the 2000-2001 season, makes him the team’s single season leader. He also led the NHL in plus/minus during the 2000-2001 campaign. The four-time, all-star is also the franchise’s all-time leading scorer in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with 45 goals, 80 assists and 125 points, 21 postseason power play goals and six game winners (tied with Stevens, Petr Sykora, Claude Lemieux & Jamie Langenbrunner).
Elias made his NHL debut on December 7, 1995 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, his only game during the season. In 1996-1997, he appeared in 17 games before joining the club full-time in 1997-1998. In his first full season, he put up 18 goals and 19 assists in 74 games, as he was named to the All-Rookie Team.
In international play, Elias has represented the Czech Republic nine times, which includes four Winter Olympics, four World Championships as well as the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.
In the 2006 Turin Olympics, he helped the Czech Republic capture the Bronze and served as captain for his country during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Elias played his final NHL game, on April 9, 2016, the Devils season finale in a 5-1 victory over the Maple Leafs. He lit the lamp for one goal and picked up two helpers in front of a sold-out Prudential Center.