Saying 'so long' in his own words Ö

CRAIG CONROY, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:08 AM ET

I want to wish the fans a farewell, but itís not really a farewell.

Iíll still be around, and hopefully when fans see me, theyíll 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 wasnít 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 Iíd 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, ĎThey love you here.í But itís both ways ó I love the fans because theyíve always been so great to me.

The hardest thing will be feeling like Iím saying goodbye to all my friends.

Thatís why when fans see me, I want them to still say Ďhi.í It would hurt my feelings if fans didnít still come and say Ďhií to me now.

Just remember, I donít have any say in what the team should do for player moves, so donít tell me what we should do. I know people have a million ideas, and they can tell them to me, but I donít know what I can say or do with those ideas.

When I decided I would retire, I knew I didnít want to leave here.

I didnít plan to.

Even if it didnít 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 itís a job, and itíll be a lot of work.

I know my wife, Jessie, saw the offer and said, ĎWhoa,

I may never see you now,í 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, weíre playing well, and thatís what I believed this team could do. Itís why I signed again. Itís a good group of guys with good chemistry and has a good chance to make the playoffs and win.

Yes, itís too bad I donít get to be a part of it, but

I scored one game-winner.

Thatís not much, but itís a little, so Iím helping.

I didnít win a Stanley Cup as a player. Hopefully, I can do it on this side and feel I contributed.

ó Craig Conroy


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