As you’re all probably aware, Saturday night marked Ryan Smyth’s last NHL game, but more than that it marked the exit of one of the greatest players to wear an Oiler’s jersey. He was never the fastest or most skilled player but he created a legacy with his sheer determination, heart, grit, and dedication to not only the Oilers but to the city of Edmonton. Smyth played for four NHL teams, but the Edmonton Oilers was the only team he truly belonged on.
Saturday night was a reflection of the respect and admiration that Smyth earned throughout his 19 year NHL career. I will never forget the atmosphere or the events that took place in Rexall Place that night. An entire stadium stood on their feet for one of the greatest men to ever wear an Oiler’s jersey. It was an emotional night for Smytty and every fan in that building: Canuck’s fans and Oiler’s fans alike came together to give Ryan Smyth a well-deserved send-off.
Ryan Smyth has always been my favourite hockey player and it’s been an emotional time coming to terms with his retirement. We all knew it was coming, but the reality of never seeing number 94 on the ice again is hard to accept for some of us. I don’t think it matters what team you cheer for, Ryan Smyth is a player that is respected throughout the entire league. Not only will Oiler’s fans miss him, but the sport of hockey will miss him.
All we can do now is hope to see him in a position within the organization — a man that loves the game that much won’t be able to stay away for long — and thank him for an incredible career. I know I learned a great deal from Ryan Smyth: I learned that hockey isn’t always about the points, it’s about having a passion for the game and ultimately being in love with the game. I believe his legacy is something we can all learn from when it comes to the sport of hockey and when it comes to life in general. Thank you, Smytty for your inspiration throughout the years, you will be missed.
Photo Credit: https://www.facebook.com/Oilers.NHL/photos/