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Ryan Smyth expresses emotions at retirement announcement

Ryan Smyth announces his retirement at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Friday, April 11, 2014....

Ryan Smyth announces his retirement at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta., on Friday, April 11, 2014. (Codie McLachlan/Edmonton Sun/QMI Agency)

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:11 AM ET

A few moments before he sat down with Ryan Smyth to begin the press conference, Craig MacTavish leaned down and produced a box of Kleenex from under the table.

He later said “My basic purpose up here was twofold — to provide the Kleenex and to make myself available in the interludes between sobbing.”

Remarkably, Smyth made it all the way through without going to the Kleenex, other than to blow his nose after reading his extensive prepared statement.

Smyth’s Edmonton Oiler teammates were amazed the 38-year-old veteran of 19 seasons was able to keep his composure and not tear up when he told them as a group prior to practice he was about to play his last game.

But this was the big-gulp one, with TV cameras galore, parents Jim and Dixie, wife Stacey, his four kids and two rows of relatives with a host of Oiler people standing on the, well, left wing of the room at Rexall Place.

It wasn’t easy.

Smyth’s voice cracked 10:28 after he took his seat.


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