SUN Hockey Pool

Ryan Smyth statement

JAMES SMITH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:46 AM ET

What follows is an edited transcript of the statement Ryan Smyth made at Edmonton International Airport yesterday:

"Well, I just wanted to say thanks to everybody for coming down. It's not what my family and I had in store. I just want to thank the Edmonton Oilers organization for giving me an opportunity to play in the National Hockey League. It's a privilege to play in the NHL. And it's an honour.

"If it weren't for a guy like Glen Sather - who gave me an opportunity - the scouting staff, Kevin Lowe, Scott Howson, and obviously my teammates.

"They've been a huge part of what it means to be an Oiler. Led by Jason Smith, the coaching staff, Craig MacTavish, Charlie Huddy, Billy Moores, Craig Simpson, Pete Peeters - people who know the game and care about the game and care about this city.

"I want to say a special thanks to the trainers. What they mean to all of us players ... and as we all know, Joey Moss. An inspiration. People who care, go behind the scenes and do whatever it takes for us to be successful on the ice.

"... This city's like home to me and my family. We've been here for 12 years. We've been (with) some charities (like) the Stollery Children's Hospital. You go there and you appreciate life when you see kids that don't have an opportunity to do what we do.

"All my family and friends. My mum and dad live just down the road in Red Deer and come up to as many games as possible. My friends I've developed over the years. They've supported me through thick and thin.

"I want also to thank my wife Stacey for supporting me. My children, Isabella and Elizabeth. Without them it would be hard to get through times like this. So I really appreciate their support.

"I never thought I'd come to this day. I've got to turn the page and enter a new chapter in life. The New York Islanders have given me that opportunity.

"I want to thank them for this. I'm going to go there and do my best to make the playoffs and win that cup so I can bring it down here to Edmonton because that's where my heart is."


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