(via Tampa Bay Lightning Communications) - Former Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi announced his retirement today after 13 NHL seasons, including two with the Bolts.
“I would like to thank all my coaches, family, friends and teammates for supporting me throughout my entire hockey career,” Girardi said. “I want to thank the New York Rangers for giving me a chance to fulfill my childhood dream of playing in the NHL. Throughout those 11 incredible years I have made so many friends on and off the ice. I bled Ranger blue and gave it my all for my team, the city and the Garden faithful. I also want to thank the Tampa Bay Lightning for helping me continue my career by giving me a chance to play for such an amazing organization, city and fan base. The last two years in Tampa Bay have been so much fun for me and my family. I will always fondly remember my time here. Finally, I want to thank my wife Pamela for always being there for me and holding down the fort and to Landon and Shaye for always being daddy’s No. 1 fans.
“I gave my all every single night and left it all out on the ice. Now it’s time for the next chapter of my life to begin and I couldn't be happier...and so is my body.”
“On behalf of the Lightning players, coaches and the entire staff I’d like to congratulate Dan on a wonderful career,” Tampa Bay vice president and general manager Julien BriseBois said. “Dan’s commitment to the game and his willingness to sacrifice himself for the good of his team earned him the respect of teammates and fans alike during 13 seasons in the NHL, while his personality and sense of humor created a lasting legacy off the ice. We wish Dan, Pamela, Landon and Shaye all the best as they head down this new path. They will always be a welcomed part of the Lightning family and the Tampa Bay community.”
A native of Welland, Ontario, Girardi played in 927 career NHL games during his career with the New York Rangers and the Lightning. He scored 56 goals and recorded 264 points along with a plus-78 rating. Dating back to when the league began counting blocked shots for the 2005-06 season, no other player has been credited with more than Girardi’s 1,954. Overall, he helped his team to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in a remarkable 12 of his 13 seasons in the NHL, including both in Tampa Bay. Girardi played in four Eastern Conference Finals and one Stanley Cup Final. He ranks 30th all-time for NHL playoff games played by defensemen with 143.
Girardi, 35, joined the Lightning as a free agent on July 1, 2017. He went on to play in 139 regular season games with Tampa Bay, recording 10 goals and 34 points. During his two seasons in a Bolts uniform no other player had more blocked shots than Girardi’s 263 and he also paced all defensemen for hits with 284.
Off the ice Girardi was an avid supporter of local autism awareness and support organizations such as CARD and Autism Speaks, purchasing tickets and hosting VIP post-game meet and greets with local families. He offered sensory kits for families with autistic children attending games and arranged for closed open skates for autistic children to see the team up close in a controlled environment.