Saying 'so long' in his own words …

CRAIG CONROY, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:08 AM ET

I want to wish the fans a farewell, but it’s not really a farewell.

I’ll still be around, and hopefully when fans see me, they’ll still want to talk to me.

One thing about being here is the fans have always made it special for me, whether I was playing or wasn’t playing this year. Sometimes what people would say to me would choke me up, because they really cared about me.

Fans would tell me they wanted to see me on the ice and in the lineup, and it meant a lot to hear.

There were times this year I’d be waiting for the elevator to go down from the press box to the room and fans would be coming to me, and they always said such positive things.

Brendan Mikkelson would say, ‘They love you here.’ But it’s both ways — I love the fans because they’ve always been so great to me.

The hardest thing will be feeling like I’m saying goodbye to all my friends.

That’s why when fans see me, I want them to still say ‘hi.’ It would hurt my feelings if fans didn’t still come and say ‘hi’ to me now.

Just remember, I don’t have any say in what the team should do for player moves, so don’t tell me what we should do. I know people have a million ideas, and they can tell them to me, but I don’t know what I can say or do with those ideas.

When I decided I would retire, I knew I didn’t want to leave here.

I didn’t plan to.

Even if it didn’t work out with the Flames, I was hoping to stay here, unless they kicked me out of the country, but being the assistant to the acting general manager, Jay Feaster, is a great opportunity for me.

When I got the offer and looked at the responsibilities,

I was happy to see it’s a job, and it’ll be a lot of work.

I know my wife, Jessie, saw the offer and said, ‘Whoa,

I may never see you now,’ but I wanted an opportunity to learn. Jay won a Stanley Cup, and I report to Ken King and Jay with my ideas to help the team get better.

Just talking to Jay and Ken, it was comforting to have an opportunity of a lifetime not many guys get. I think of Al MacInnis, Joe Nieuwendyk and Steve Yzerman, and

I feel special to be able to do similar things, because being in that category is humbling.

As for the team, right now, we’re playing well, and that’s what I believed this team could do. It’s why I signed again. It’s a good group of guys with good chemistry and has a good chance to make the playoffs and win.

Yes, it’s too bad I don’t get to be a part of it, but

I scored one game-winner.

That’s not much, but it’s a little, so I’m helping.

I didn’t win a Stanley Cup as a player. Hopefully, I can do it on this side and feel I contributed.

— Craig Conroy


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