It’s official: Patrik Elias is retiring from the NHL. The all-time New Jersey Devils point leader and two-time Stanley Cup winner spent his entire professional career in New Jersey, and will see his no. 26 officially retired and sent into the rafters next season.
On April 4th, he will hold a 4p.m. press conference prior to the Devils-Flyers matchup at the Prudential Center.
Patrik released this statement to his fans, friends, and family:
“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.
I came here 22 years ago to play hockey- to do what I loved since I was 5 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.
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 want to also thank my family and friends.
Off the ice, you grow great relationships, and I’ve been here 22 years. I've 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.”
Patty’s Last Lap
As outlined on NHL.com, the Devils will be honoring Elias over the last three home games of this season. There will be several opportunities for fans to witness to the end of one of the most significant careers in Devils’ history.
On Tuesday, April 4th against the Flyers, Elias will drop the ceremonial puck drop before the game starts.
On Friday, April 7th, the Devils will be hosting an open practice at the RWJ Barnabas Health Hockey House. Elias will prepare with the team one last time. This practice is a free event, open to the public, and RSVPs are now open at this link.
And on Saturday, April 8th, Patrik will participate in #PattysLastLap - he will skate during warmups with the Devils for the last time in his career. As is typical for the home closer, there will also be a Fan Fest on Championship Plaza before the game.
Elias’ No. 26 jersey will be retired prior to the start of a home game next season. He will be joining the ranks of the Devils elite as only the 5th skater in franchise history to have his number retired. His jersey will hang next to those of his former teammates, No. 4 Scott Stevens, No. 3 Ken Daneyko, No. 27 Scott Niedermayer, and No. 30 Martin Brodeur.
After being drafted by New Jersey in the 2nd round of the 1994 NHL Draft, Elias is the Devils’ franchise leader in the three top points categories, with 408 goals, 617 assists, and a total of 1,025 points. He also tops the charts in Devils’ playoff scoring records, including 45 goals and 80 assists for 125 points, 21 power-play goals, and 6 game-winning goals in the postseason.
A four-time All-Star, he ranks second in NHL history with 16 career OT goals. He also holds the Devils’ record for most points in a season with 96 in 2000-01, the same season in which he led the league in plus/minus.
He is third in Devils’ history for most games played (1,240), sitting only behind Ken Daneyko (1,283) and Martin Brodeur (1,259).
He also represented his home country by skating for the Czech Republic team nine times. He spent four Winter Olympic games with the team, won a bronze medal in 2006, and captained the 2010 squad. He also played for the Czech Republic team in 2006.
On April 9, 2016, in what now lands as his final game in the NHL, Elias certainly made it count. He was awarded First Star of the game in a 5-1 victory over Toronto. He tallied two assists throughout the game, and with just 15 seconds left, took advantage of a Leafs turnover and scored his last NHL goal.
(NHL.com has the highlights here, but you’ll want to skip to the 2:30 mark for Elias’ tally.)
This is a bittersweet day for the franchise. However, it’s also a great time for us to remember and reflect upon a long, successful career for one of the most elite skaters to ever play for the Devils.
Let’s keep it simple. Share your favorite Patrik Elias moments with us in the comments below.