Islanders captain Doug Weight has announced his retirement Thursday. He will continue to be active in hockey, acting as an assistant coach for the Islanders and a senior advisor to Isles GM Garth Snow.
The 40-year-old Detroit native finished his career with 278 goals and 1,033 points in 1,238 NHL games. Weight started his NHL career with the Rangers back in 1991. Weight also played for the Oilers, Blues, Hurricanes and Ducks. He won a Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006 and won three Olympic medals for the United States during his distinguished international hockey career. Four times, he was an NHL All-Star.
Staying healthy was a big problem for Weight in recent seasons. He played in only 18 games this year with the Islanders and only 36 contests a season ago.
“I knew the writing was on the wall and it was something I was going to have to face,” said an emotional Weight at a press conference today. “As sad as it is, I am very excited and fulfilled with my career. You can’t have regrets. I just wish I was healthy.”
With the Islanders, Weight’s contributions were at least as noteworthy off the ice as they were on the ice. Top draft choice John Tavares lived with Weight and the veteran took to mentoring the Isles new franchise player. He was a calming influence on a very young and developing Islanders roster, a role he will likely continue as an assistant coach in the coming season.
“Doug is the ultimate leader,” Isles GM Garth Snow said in a statement. “He has taken our young core of players, over the past three years, and helped elevate their game to a point where we now see our franchise competing with the top teams in the league. On behalf of the organization, I’d like to thank Doug for his commitment to the New York Islanders and we are excited to have him join our Hockey Operations Department in seeing through with our goal of winning the Stanley Cup.”
Weight has played many roles over the course of his distinguished career. After being a young apprentice on the Mark Messier-led Rangers, Weight became a young leader with the Oilers. He enjoyed his finest offensive season with Edmonton in 1995-96, when he scored 25 goals and totaled 104 points. For two seasons, Weight served as captain in Edmonton. He was later veteran leader with a contending St. Louis club and a rental player for the Hurricanes. As an Islander, Weight was the grizzled veteran helping to mentor a team full of young and inexperienced players.
“It was an honor to be a member of the NHL for the 19 years I laced up my skates,” Weight said. “I have a lifetime of memories from playing this game and cherish them all. I am excited to begin this next phase of my professional career and help the Islanders continue to climb the ladder to winning the Stanley Cup.”
Weight did not play after November 17 this season. For five games late in the campaign, he served as an assistant coach under Jack Capuano and was stationed behind the Islanders bench.
“Just the five games last season I stood on the bench helped me immensely,” Weight said. “It’s going to be an easy transition for me. I’ll be at every game and will feed off their energy. I am not worried about the dynamic at all. To assist Garth and learn from Garth, his focus and drive and work ethic is incredible.”
Weight is sixth all-time in points among American-born players in NHL history. He was also the eight American-born player and the 73rd player ever to reach 1,000 career points.