Islanders captain Doug Weight tearfully bid farewell to his 19-season NHL career but will remain with the organization as an assistant coach and special advisor to General Manager Garth Snow.
The 40-year-old veteran gave an emotional speech in a press conference to officially announce his retirement, thanking friends, fans, teammates and family that have supported him throughout his lengthy career.
A season-ending back injury ultimately sealed Weight's decision about retirement; the Detroit, Michigan native said he saw "the writing on the wall" and decided to end his playing career.
"Saying goodbye and never playing again, it's terrible. It's tough," Weight said. "It's a sickening sad feeling, but it's also a new chapter to hopefully the greatest chapter of my life."
Weight will join assistant coaches Dean Chynoweth and Scott Allen behind the bench and will work specifically on the power play. He will also work with Snow on personnel decisions on the management side.
Weight said he will use this year to learn and evaluate what path he'd like to pursue with the organization in the future. He is, however, leaning toward management.
Snow said he recruited Weight to the Island in part to guide a young, experienced team. His leadership throughout his three-season captaincy, on and off the ice, made Snow want to keep him as part of the organization moving forward.
"His value to this team's young core has been immeasurable," Snow said.
Joining Snow and Weight on the dais during the press conference was team owner Charles Wang. Weight's family, friends and several teammates were also on hand to show their support.
Although limited to only 18 games this season, Weight amassed 278 goals and 755 assists during his NHL career that featured stints with the Rangers, Oilers, Blues, Hurricanes, Ducks and lastly, the Islanders.
"As sad as it is," Weight said "I'm very excited and fulfilled with my career."