Note: This post has been updated throughout from its original form, which was basically just a live viewing of the retirement presser. Most of the early comments below were from those of us watching the news live.
As discussed earlier this week, Doug Weight officially retired today, the announcement streamed live on the New York Islanders official site. They'll surely post the archive soon, and it's worth a viewing if you have the time.
Skim the comments in this post for details and quips from his announcement [plus the tribute video they showed], which also included the new role(s) he'll adopt with the organization.
Garth Snow announced that role would be as an assistant coach and special assistant to the GM. The Islanders press release calls this a "special advisor" role. It's clear they want him still around the players -- Snow spoke of the "presence" that Weight carries, which is echoed by current young Islander players -- and they also appreciate his insights and drive for the management role.
The rest of the coaching staff remains as is, and Weight adds his two cents to the mix. Weight spoke of how the five games behind the bench at the end of last season gave him a taste of the action and focused his interest in doing something immediately following retirement (instead of taking some time off). In the Q&A session, Weight also marveled at Snow's work ethic and drive; it sounds like he's gained a new appreciation for what goes on from the management side of things.
If I had to guess, I'd think Weight might handle more media appearances too, since he has the gift of gab, clearly believes in what the Isles are building, and is eloquent at expressing it. The Isles don't have their assistant coaches talk to media, but this is a different sort of role, and frankly it's a missed opportunity if he's not used as spokesperson for the franchise.
Snow said the "real winner" here is the Long Island community, which benefits from all the charity and youth hockey work Weight does behind the scenes. I must say this doesn't surprise me one bit. People in St. Louis still speak about how great he was to people, with charity, youth hockey and more.
Tribute Video: There Will Be Hootie
The Press Conference
In his speech, Weight held back tears throughout -- he joked that he would need one tissue per paragraph -- and thanked everyone from Adam Graves and Glen Sather (from his days as Oilers GM, where contract negotiations were "fun") to his two recent tenants on Long Island: Matt Moulson and John Tavares, who were both there. (Said Weight: "The money you guys owe me, we can settle up later. Damages.")
Bill Guerin, who Weight's "been on 10 teams together" with, was also there. Of course Weight's wife and three kids were too, with all the tear-jerking moments that entails.
It was honestly a touching speech, and I doubt many in the room held back both laughter and tears.
Charles Wang and Snow also came off quite well in the presentation -- it was a scene of gratitude for one of their own that demonstrates why players within this club rave about the family atmosphere. (Maybe one day, national media will catch on.) Wang's praise was heartfelt, and his one-liners were on the mark. ("Congratulations to Allison for raising four kids...the most important one being Dougie.")
Isles links: Teammates weigh (sorry) in on Weight himself | Others on his wife's support and role helping other players' wives.
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Personal blogger note: As a follower of the Islanders and Blues, I had the pleasure of watching Weight closely for two major stretches of his career. (Same with Pierre Turgeon, who Weight ironically replaced in St. Louis.) That meant watching a whole lot of great passes, fiery competitive moments...and playing through injuries. Weight was such a fantastic player when healthy. It's a shame that injuries limited his wheels and the number of games he could have played -- which is saying something when you consider he still logged 1335 NHL games.
I'll never forget watching him freeze an entire defense as he entered the zone and pivoted his torso without changing speeds, suddenly opening up 240 degrees of potential passing lanes. Beyond his all-world skills, I'll remember that Weight was beloved in both communities. He's a straight-shooter, an upbeat guy, and as Snow and the teammates said, "a presence."
He'll be missed. But thankfully, he'll still be around.
Earlier: I asked the gang at Oilers blog Copper & Blue what their favorite memories of Weight as an Oiler were, and the most memorable moment might surprise you -- and give you a hearty chuckle.
Also Oiler-iffic: A review of his Oilers years, which were his true assist-logging prime despite coming during the Dead Puck era.