Veteran center Mike Sillinger announced his retirement from hockey today after a 17-year NHL career.
The Regina, Saskatchewan, native set an NHL record by playing for 12 different teams during his career. In 1,049 regular season games, Sillinger scored 240 goals and accumulated 548 points.
Sillinger was drafted in the first round, 11th overall by the Detroit Red Wings back in 1989. In addition to Detroit, Sillinger played for Anaheim, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Florida, Ottawa, Columbus, Phoenix, St. Louis, Nashville and the New York Islanders. His most productive season came in 2005-06 when he scored 63 points in 79 games while splitting the year between St. Louis and Nashville.
“To play the sport of hockey, something I’ve had a passion for all my life, at the professional level for the past 17 years and to be able to support my family has been a dream come true,” said Sillinger. “From playing this game I have met some of my best friends and will cherish the memories we made forever.”
“Mike has and always will be a tremendous ambassador for this game,” added Isles’ GM Garth Snow. “He is a born leader in everything he does and on behalf of the New York Islanders I wish him and his family the very best in the future.”
In the end, it was injuries that forced Sillinger to hang up his skates. He had hip surgery late in the 2007-08 season and was limited to only seven games with the Islanders last season. The hip has not healed sufficiently to allow Sillinger to resume playing hockey.
Looking back at his stint with the New York Islanders, Sillinger cited his 1,000th career NHL game as the highlight. The Islanders’ organization recognized the achievement with a special ceremony before the game and Sillinger said he was treated “first class” all the way.
He also indicated he was jealous of his friend Doug Weight because he would return next season to play with the Isles’ young prospects.
Sillinger has already sold his home on Long Island and has returned to Regina. He did not say what his long term future plans were, but for now, he was eager to spend some more time with his family and weigh his options.