Retired in July, his NHL future uncertain in August, Jeremy Roenick completed a 180-degree career turn Tuesday, postponing retirement for another shot at a Stanley Cup.
Roenick, who tallied 28 points in 70 games with the Coyotes last season, signed a one-year, $500,000 contract with the San Jose Sharks just two months after telling the Philadelphia Inquirer via a text message he was retiring.
“That was a very true feeling in my body and soul about retiring,” Roenick said Tuesday during a conference call.
“Then I got a call from (Sharks general manager) Doug Wilson. My electricity and energy immediately came back.”
Roenick, 37, a center, was a teammate of Wilson in Chicago during his first two years in the NHL and said the opportunity to play for a friend and for a Stanley Cup contender quickly changed his future plans.
“When you love to play the game and a team like this comes along, it’s easy to get motivated,” the nine-time All-Star said.
“This is the most excited I’ve been going into a season. . . . It’s similar to when I went to Philadelphia.”
Roenick has 495 goals and 675 assists in an 18-year career. He said he is thankful to get another chance to reach the 500-goal plateau but added that’s not the reason he’s coming back.
“I will get that,” he said. “When? It doesn’t matter. That’s not my motivation at all. . . .
“My motivation is to win a Cup and gain my respectability back as a hockey player.”
Roenick should provide leadership and depth for the Sharks behind centers Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. He is the league’s most outspoken active player but said he doesn’t plan on being a distraction in San Jose.
“It’s going to be a quiet year in terms of the verbal side of me,” Roenick said. “I’m going to try to blend in and be as camouflaged as possible.”
That’s exactly what the Sharks want from him.
“He knows he’s here to play hockey,” Wilson said. “It’s not about the other stuff. . . . We don’t expect any distractions.”
Roenick is the third-leading American-born goal-scorer in NHL history, trailing only Mike Modano (507) and Joey Mullen (502).
His first visit to Phoenix this season will be Nov. 15.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.