Potsdam native Craig Conroy announced his retirement from the National Hockey League's Calgary Flames this afternoon, but he will remain with the organization as a special assistant to the acting general manager, Jay Feaster.
Conroy, a 39-year old former All-American at Clarkson, was put on waivers by that organization on Jan. 25. He was given the option of playing in the minor leagues but is expected, instead, to choose retirement.
Conroy played in 1,009 NHL games and finished his career with 182 goals and 360 assists. The highlight of his career, which began in the 1994-95 season, was helping lead the Flames to the Stanley Cup Finals in the 2003-04 season.
A former All-American at Clarkson, Conroy played with the Canadiens, St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings, in addition to his time with the Flames.
The entire Flames team showed up for Conroy's press conference and Conroy was in good spirits, saying he'd had time to deal with the emotional aspects of his career ending.
"Being a sixth-round draft choice, I never thought I was going to play any (NHL) games," Conroy said. "To come in and play 1,000 was special. It's fun to be able to play that long and be one of 200-some guys who have ever done it in the NHL was pretty special."
Once the organization knew Conroy planned on retiring, it was not a hard decision to offer him a management position.
"He knows a number of the young players in this system," Feaster said. "For him to be able to go in there and talk to those players about what you have to do to prepare yourself to be a professional, I just think it's a tremendous resource for us. He's going to be a great addition to the management group."
Conroy was asked how his former teammates reacted to his new job and joked, "I think these young guys thought this was what I was doing already."