Former Rangers first-round pick Michael Del Zotto announced his retirement on Instagram on Wednesday.
Del Zotto, a linebacker, spent five seasons with the Rangers after being selected with the 20th overall pick in the 2008 NHL draft and making his debut in 2009.
“Today was a bittersweet day. I was lucky enough to play professional hockey for 14 years,” Del Zotto posted on his Instagram account. “Blood, sweat, tears, broken bones, victories, heartbreak and sacrifice are worth every second.
“The same goes for the many amazing relationships I’ve formed along the way.
“These relationships included teammates, staff and fans, but the most meaningful were the ones I shared with the kids I met at Ronald McDonald House during my time in Vancouver and the Garden of Dreams in New York, especially Liam and Taylor.”
The 33-year-old del Zotto played 80 games in his rookie season and became the youngest defensive player in team history at the time. He also earned All-Rookie honors.
He played just 80 more games with Rangers over the next four years, playing 47, 77, 46 and 42 games.
In 2014, the Rangers sent him to Nashville for guard Kevin Klein. He scored 121 points in five seasons of the Broadway show.
“As athletes, we can get tired of each season, game cycle, or shift, but hockey is just one sport. These relationships often keep me in check and remind me of what matters most in life,” Del Zotto said in a statement. Said in the retirement post. “Having the opportunity to positively impact others and give back to the community has been the most rewarding part of my career. It is a role I will continue to cherish.
“Spent 14 years in a job full of stress and scrutiny felt like a lifetime, full of highs and lows. I’m proud of the life lessons I’ve learned along the way. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, And learned from it. I never wanted to be known just as a hockey player. I wanted to be known as Michael Del Zotto and that was it. I am proud of who I am today.”
Del Zotto, who has also played for the Flyers, Canucks, Ducks, Blues, Blue Jackets and Senators in his career, played 26 games for Ottawa last year.
His Instagram account shows that he is now a real estate agent in Florida.
Del Zotto thanked his family after his retirement.
“None of this would have been possible without the unconditional love and support of my family. From the moment I put on my skates at the age of three, they have guided me and given me every opportunity to achieve my dreams. I have achieved both It belongs to them and it belongs to me,” Del Zotto said.
“This version of me is ready to hit full steam ahead for the next chapter of my life. I’m ready to explore the world and take on challenges in new ways. Most importantly, I’m excited to spend more time with my family and A chance to make up for all the good times I missed.”