For some New Jersey Devils Fans, yesterday marked the end of an era.Long-term advancement and fan favorite Travis Rabbit Signed a one-day contract and retired from the NHL as the devil. He played for the club for 15 seasons and celebrated his 1000th game against the Washington Capitals on February 21, 2021. For many people, he is the main figure in the organization and is always described as a collective act, whether on or under the ice.
Yesterday afternoon, Zajak met with the general manager Tom Fitzgerald and co-managing partner David Blitzer to celebrate his career in New Jersey and discuss the 36-year-old player’s next plan.
“It’s bittersweet, there are a lot of emotions today,” Zayak said at the retirement press conference. “I think I can play this game at the highest level on the New Jersey Devils jersey for 15 years. I look back on the past and it’s so special. It’s hard to sit here and talk about it. I just appreciate all the memories I have.”
Born in Winnipeg, made in New Jersey
The Winnipeg native was selected by the Devils with the 20th overall pick in the 2004 draft. The 2006-07 season was his first full season with the team. He played 80 games and eventually scored 42 points. He was a member of the famous ZZ pop band along with Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner, and finished 10th in the rookie vote, thus ending his Rookie campaign. Calder Trophy.
His importance to the organization becomes more apparent every season. When he looks back on his career, he will definitely notice his favorite moment, which is the Stanley Cup for the Devil in 2012. In their search for the final, Zajatz scored an overtime goal against the Florida Panthers, forcing the seventh game in the first round.
“My best memory is definitely the Stanley Cup game,” Zayak said. “I missed most of the season due to injury, and when I came back I became a member of a team that entered the Stanley Cup final; I have many friends from that team, and we still keep in touch. That is I never will Forgot to run.”
Zajac is a player who has covered the true meaning of being the Devils throughout his career. He joined Patrick Elias and Niklas Leadstrom to become a player in an organization A player who has played 1,000 games. As he celebrated, Zajak and Alex Ovechkin were the only two members of the 2004 draft to achieve this milestone.
“I played 1,000 games with the Devils, and in retrospect, this is more important to me than any other data I have,” he said. “Just know that this organization believed in me from the beginning and gave me the opportunity to play for them for 15 years and 1,000 games. This is one thing I will never forget.”
The window for Zajak to return to the ice for another season is open. Fitzgerald and New York Islanders general manager Lou La Morillo reached out to him, hoping that he would play another season. 6-foot-3 forward Played 13 games for the islanders After trading from the Devils last season, but when the discussion happened, Zajak had decided to hang up his skates and leave the game-at least as a player.
“At this age, it is becoming more and more difficult to maintain a leading position and achieve success and competitiveness,” Zayak said. “After the vacation, I really didn’t have the desire to train and promote myself. I ran out of a little oil and spending more time with my family began to have a major impact on my life.
“Eating at home, participating in children’s sports meets and being around school is fun for me. I really like to participate in it. You have to make sacrifices to continue the game. I don’t have the inner motivation to keep going.”
Zajac emphasized that he felt calm about his decision and was happy to have more time with his family. The motivation he felt in the past 15 seasons disappeared this summer, and he knew it was time.The good news for devil fans is He will stay in the organization Serving as a consulting role for on-court/off-court player development, and also dedicated to the development of the club’s youth hockey program.
“Travis is an excellent player on the ice rink, a better person on the field,” said Diane Kuhn, long-time Devil team season ticket holder. “Whether it is by visiting sick children or Participating in youth sports activities, he has been giving back to the community. He is always amiable and willing to make time for the cause around him. I don’t remember one player incident where he didn’t have a smile on his face and he didn’t want to talk to the fans. It’s easy It can be seen that although he is from Winnipeg, his roots are in New Jersey.”
I think Kuhn is saying that New Jersey is lucky to have Zayak for the past 15 years, she represents all the Devils fans. In the press conference, David Blitzer summed it up perfectly: “People aspire to be Travis Zajac.” The Devils will celebrate him when they play against the Winnipeg Jets on March 10, 2022.
Since March 2021, Kristy has been writing for The Hockey Writers. She is happy to be able to use her journalism degree and cover the Nashville Predators and the New Jersey Devils. Kristy is also the co-host of the weekly YouTube show Chicks & Sticks produced by THW.You can follow her journey on Twitter @InStilettosBlog And Instagram Skating in high heels.