Home Local NewsLocal SportsAnaheim Ducks winger Jakob Silfverberg retiring at season’s end

Ducks winger Jakob Silfverberg retiring at season’s end

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Ducks winger Jakob Silfverberg announced his retirement Thursday after 12 NHL seasons, 11 of which were spent in Orange County, where he’ll play his final home game Friday against Calgary.

“It’s not a decision that was made yesterday by any means, it’s something that’d been (decided) a while back. I’ve kind of slowly been preparing for it, but it’ll still be a weird feeling tomorrow, my last game at Honda Center,” Silverberg, 33, said. “Hopefully, we’ll have a good game. It’s going to be a special night for sure.”

Silfverberg, who was in the final year of his contract but said he still felt “excited to play,” will be returning to his native Sweden. Though he was not willing to confirm it outright, all signs indicated he’d fulfill his “ultimate dream” of finishing his career competing for the club that developed him as a pro, Brynäs IF of his hometown, Gävle.

“I’ve said it from Day One when we moved (to North America), we had a really special year the last year I left, we ended up winning the championship,” Silfverberg said. “I even said 12 years ago now, that before I get too old and too slow I’d like to come back and make a strong push and do it again.”

Of his 373 career NHL points, 354 of them were scored in a Ducks uniform. He made two deep playoff runs, reaching the conference finals in 2015 and again in 2017. In 2015, his dominance in the first round against the Winnipeg Jets was accentuated by his goal with 21 seconds left in Game 2’s 2-1 victory. In 2017, he came up with another late game-winner, against Calgary, before his spurt of six points in three games, including the overtime winner in a pivotal Game 4, turned the tide to eliminate Edmonton after the Ducks lost the first two games of the series at home.

Silfverberg aged gracefully but not painlessly. He underwent offseason hip surgery and saw his role become increasingly defensive while providing mentorship to a group of young Swedes that included ultra-promising lottery pick Leo Carlsson. Stellar Swedes Daniel Alfredsson and Erik Karlsson did the same for him as a rookie with the Ottawa Senators, who drafted him in 2009’s second round before trading him to the Ducks as part of a package for Bobby Ryan.

In Anaheim, Viktor Fasth was an early confidant but, in time, Silfverberg developed into a leader for one of the top franchises in the 2010s, and one that’s entered into a sometimes excruciating rebuild as he’s fought his own battles on the health front.

The Ducks fans, who adopted the old Brynäs chant of “Ohh, ahh, Silfverberg, ohh, ahh, Silfverberg,”, made him feel welcome 5,500 miles from home.

“They’ve been awesome, through both good and bad,” Silfverberg said.

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