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Position Centre
Shoots Right
Height
Weight
6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
216 lb (98 kg/15 st 6 lb)
NHL Team Ottawa Senators
Nationality 22x20px Canada
Born June 13, 1983 (1983-06-13) (age 34),
Mississauga, ON, CAN
NHL Draft 2nd overall, 2001
Ottawa Senators
Pro career 2002 – present

</div></div> Jason Anthony Rocco Spezza (born June 13, 1983 in Mississauga, Ontario) is a professional ice hockey centerman currently playing for the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League (NHL). Spezza is known for his speed and playmaking abilities and usually plays on a line (called the CASH line) with Dany Heatley and Daniel Alfredsson.[1]

Spezza was one of the most highly touted prospects prior to 2001. Spezza began playing in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) at the early age of 15. His play earned him a roster spot Canada's World Junior Hockey Championship team at 16 years of age; at the time, he was the third 16-year-old to make the cut— only Eric Lindros and Wayne Gretzky had previously qualified. He has several Junior All-star team titles on his résumé.

Spezza was drafted second overall in 2001; his draft pick was acquired by the Senators from the New York Islanders as part of the Alexei Yashin trade. Spezza split his first season between Ottawa and its farm team, the Binghamton Senators. At the NHL level, Spezza played 33 games at and scored 21 points, securing his position on the Senators' NHL roster. In the 2005–06 NHL season, Spezza reached the 90 point mark and set a franchise record with 71 assists.

Early lifeEdit

Jason was born to Italian parents Rino and Donna Spezza. He has twin siblings; a sister Michelle and a brother, Matthew, who is also an ice hockey goaltender working his way up to the professional level. He favoured Mario Lemieux growing up, until Lemieux retired.[2] However, he watched the Toronto Maple Leafs growing up as a child, since he grew up in the Toronto area.

Baby modeling careerEdit

Before the age of 1, Spezza won a baby contest and began his youth modelling career. The victory resulted in Spezza becoming the poster boy for Baby, a Broadway musical that played at Toronto's O'Keefe Centre in the summer of 1984. At five years old, Spezza was chosen for a Minute Maid commercial. Two years later, he modelled clothing for stores Woolco and Kmart.[3][4]

Eventually, Spezza focused on hockey and ended his modelling career before he turned nine. By the time he was 15, he knew he had a chance at making it to the NHL, notably saying:

"All my time and effort was put into being a hockey player. At 15 or 16, I knew I was going to have a chance to play pro hockey. It was just a matter of how good could I be. My dad was my coach, kind of an intense guy, and he pushed me."

Playing careerEdit

Junior yearsEdit

He was able to play for the OHL's Brampton Battalion as an underaged player for the 1998–99 season because it was his hometown team; he averaged over a point per game. He was then required to enter the OHL Priority Draft and was selected by the Mississauga Ice Dogs in the team's opening season (1999–00). Spezza became the third player to represent Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship as a 16-year-old, after Wayne Gretzky and Eric Lindros. This feat was also accomplished the same year by defenceman Jay Bouwmeester and Sidney Crosby in 2004. Splitting in 2000-01 with the Ice Dogs and Windsor Spitfires, Spezza scored his OHL-career-high 116 points in 66 games.

Prior to the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Spezza was noted as a highly regarded prospect, and won two top prospect awards.[5] He was drafted second overall after the Atlanta Thrashers' pick for the left-winger Ilya Kovalchuk. His pick originally belonged to the New York Islanders, but was traded to Ottawa along with Zdeno Chara and Bill Muckalt for Alexei Yashin.

After one more OHL season with the Belleville Bulls and some time in the AHL playoffs with the Grand Rapids Griffins, Spezza started his professional career in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Binghamton Senators for the 2002–03 season.

AHL years and Senators stints Edit

Throughout the season, Spezza was called up to replace the Senators' injured players, and scored 21 points in the process. During one stint with Ottawa, he helped the team win critical games in the 2003 Stanley Cup Playoffs, where the Senators were within one game of the Stanley Cup Finals, losing to the eventual Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils. He played his first full season with the Senators in 2003–2004 and scored 22 goals and 55 points.

During the NHL lockout, Spezza played in the AHL, and with 117 points, he was the highest scorer in the league by a considerable margin, and the first to record so many points in several years. He was awarded the Les Cunningham Award as the league's Most Valuable Player.

2005-presentEdit

With centres Radek Bonk and Todd White traded during the 2004–05 offseason, Spezza began the 2005–06 season as Ottawa's first line centre, playing between friend Dany Heatley and rookie Brandon Bochenski, who was Spezza's linemate in Binghamton. Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson replaced Bochenski on the line and Bochenski was ultimately traded.

Near the start of the season on October 27, 2005, Spezza scored one of his most skilled goals of the year in overtime against the Montreal Canadiens. On the play, he eluded three Montreal Canadiens defenders, slipping the puck between the legs of Sheldon Souray. He then shifted the puck to his backhand, and flipped it into the top of the net over José Theodore's shoulder.[6]

That year, the Spezza-Heatley-Alfredsson line, nick-named the 'CASH' and 'Pizza' line,[7] scored a league-best 296 points. In the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Senators defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round, but fell to the Buffalo Sabres in five games. Spezza finished the regular season with a franchise record 71 assists. He was second in the league, behind Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks (96 assists).

Spezza was a leader in points per game that year and actually led the league in scoring for a short period of time until he was hampered by several injuries, including a pulled back muscle, which later required surgery. These injuries caused him to miss 14 games, however he was still able to finish in the top 15 in points.

Spezza was a reserve for Team Canada at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, but did not play.

During the summer of 2006, Spezza underwent successful back surgery. During the following season, he was on pace for about 100 points before suffering another injury. He managed a career high 34 goals and finished with 87 points. On May 19, 2007, he scored a goal and an assist as the Senators defeated the Buffalo Sabres in the Eastern Conference final 4 games to 1. They moved to the Stanley Cup finals against the Anaheim Ducks, but lost in five games after the Spezza-Heatley-Alfredsson line failed to perform against Samuel Påhlsson's checking line, backed by star defencemen Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger. Spezza finished the playoffs with a franchise record 22 post-season points; he tied linemates Alfredsson and Heatley.

Along with teammates Chris Kelly, Brian McGrattan and Chris Neil, Spezza presented the new Senators symbols, and jersey for their team on August 22 at a 6:00 show at the Senators' home arena, the Scotiabank Place. The uniforms were changed significantly for the new RBK Edge jersey line for better performance and injury prevention. The visiting fans also could get to see the awarded Prince of Wales Trophy that the Senators won after eliminating the Sabres in the third round.

On November 2, 2007, Spezza signed a seven-year contract extension with the Senators worth $49 million. [1]

On February 9, 2008, Spezza scored his first NHL hat-trick during a 6–1 Senators victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Spezza contributed to all 6 Senators points, making it the most productive night of his NHL career.

On April 24, 2008, it was announced that Spezza was added to the Canadian roster to play in the World Championship in May 2008. Fellow Ottawa Senator Dany Heatley also made the roster.

Off the iceEdit

Spezza is currently featured on the NHL 2K8 cover, which has been released on September 11, 2007, for the [[Playstation 2, [[Playstation 3, Xbox and the Xbox 360.[8]

Upon NHL 2k's selection of Spezza, he commented:

"It’s a great honour to be the NHL 2K8 cover athlete. The NHL 2K series has always selected some of the best players in the NHL and I’m really excited to follow in their footsteps of representing the finest hockey video game title this year."

Community programsEdit

Spezza participates in numerous activities outside of hockey, especially the "Spelling with Spezza" program. Winners receive a poster of Spezza and a pair of tickets to a Senators' home game. The program recognizes the importance of spelling. Spezza visits selected classes registered for the program. Last season over 600 classes in the Ottawa-Gatineau area participated in Spelling with Spezza. [9] He is also a donator towards the Ronald McDonald House.[10]

Career statisticsEdit

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1998–99 Brampton Battalion OHL 67 22 49 71 18 -- -- -- -- --
1999–00 Mississauga Ice Dogs OHL 52 24 37 61 33 -- -- -- -- --
2000–01 Mississauga Ice Dogs OHL 15 7 23 30 11 -- -- -- -- --
2000–01 Windsor Spitfires OHL 41 36 50 86 32 9 4 5 9 10
2001–02 Windsor Spitfires OHL 27 19 26 45 16 -- -- -- -- --
2001–02 Belleville Bulls OHL 26 23 37 60 26 11 5 6 11 18
2001–02 Grand Rapids Griffins AHL -- -- -- -- -- 3 1 0 1 2
2002–03 Binghamton Senators AHL 43 22 32 54 71 2 1 2 3 4
2002–03 Ottawa Senators NHL 33 7 14 21 8 3 1 1 2 0
2003–04 Ottawa Senators NHL 78 22 33 55 71 3 0 0 0 2
2004–05 Binghamton Senators AHL 80 32 85 117 50 6 1 3 4 6
2005–06 Ottawa Senators NHL 68 19 71 90 33 10 5 9 14 2
2006–07 Ottawa Senators NHL 67 34 53 87 45 20 7 15 22 10
2007–08 Ottawa Senators NHL 76 34 58 92 66 4 0 1 1 0
NHL Totals 322 116 229 345 223 40 13 26 39 14
OHL Totals 228 131 222 353 136 20 9 11 20 28

International playEdit

Medal record
Men's ice hockey
World Championships
Silver 2008 Ice hockey
World Junior Championships
Bronze 2000 Ice hockey
Bronze 2001 Ice hockey
Silver 2002 Ice hockey

Played for Canada in:

International statisticsEdit

Year Team Event GP G A Pts PIM
2000 Canada U20 7 0 2 2 2
2001 Canada U20 7 3 3 6 2
2002 Canada U20 7 0 4 4 8
2008 Canada WC 9 1 2 3 0
Junior Int'l Totals 21 3 9 12 12
Senior Int'l Totals 9 1 2 3 0

AwardsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Lefebvre, Jean (December 5, 2005). "What's my line?: Naming Sens trio as hard as stopping 'em", pp. F5. 
  2. "Ottawa's Jason Spezza:A Spezzial Senator". NHL.com (12–24–03).
  3. "Spezza Delivery" (10–01–06).
  4. "Spezza modelling picture" (February 2006). Archived from the original on 2013-01-10.
  5. "Jason Spezza - About Jason".
  6. USA Today game summary, accessed 2006-09–12
  7. Lefebvre, Jean (December 5, 2005), "What's my line?: Naming Sens trio as hard as stopping 'em", Calgary Herald: F5 
  8. "NHL 2K8 video" (07–18–07).
  9. "Sens @ School: Spelling with #19 Spezza".
  10. "This is Ottawa Senator Jason Spezza’s Charity...". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Jason LaBarbera
Les Cunningham Award Winner
2005
Succeeded by
Donald MacLean
Preceded by
Pavel Rosa
John B. Sollenberger Trophy Winner
2005
Succeeded by
Kirby Law
Persondata
NAME Spezza, Jason
ALTERNATIVE NAMES
SHORT DESCRIPTION ice hockey player
DATE OF BIRTH June 13, 1983
PLACE OF BIRTH Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
DATE OF DEATH
PLACE OF DEATH
de:Jason Spezza

fr:Jason Spezza ru:Спецца, Джейсон sk:Jason Spezza fi:Jason Spezza sv:Jason Spezza

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