July 20, 2023
Nate Thompson Retires
The 38-year-old forward made the announcement via Twitter.
"From the time I was four until 38 hockey has been my life and best friend. I’m beyond grateful and thankful for all the great people I’ve met and friendships I’ve made," Thompson said. "All good things must come to an end so thank you to all who supported me along this journey."
Thompson's NHL journey is a testament to the power of determination, resilience, and hard work. From a young Alaskan boy with a dream to a seasoned veteran celebrated for his tenacity, Thompson's impact on the NHL extends far beyond his on-ice performances. As a gritty forward and dedicated leader, he has left an indelible mark on the teams he's played for and continues to inspire the next generation of hockey players both in Alaska and around the hockey world.
Growing up in Alaska, a state not traditionally known for producing NHL talent, Nate Thompson's love for hockey began at a young age. His passion for the sport was undeniable, and he quickly became a standout player in local youth leagues. Despite facing geographical disadvantages, Thompson's determination caught the attention of scouts, and he earned an opportunity to play major junior hockey in the Western Hockey League (WHL).
In 2003, Nate Thompson was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the sixth round of the NHL Entry Draft. His road to the NHL, however, was far from straightforward. After spending time developing in the AHL with the Providence Bruins, Thompson made his NHL debut in the 2006-2007 season. Although his initial NHL stint was short-lived, he continued to hone his skills in the AHL before earning a more permanent spot with the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2010-2011 season.
It was with the Tampa Bay Lightning that Nate Thompson showcased his versatility and leadership, quickly becoming a valued presence on the team. Renowned for his fearless play, faceoff prowess, and penalty-killing abilities, Thompson's contributions were instrumental in the Lightning's deep playoff runs during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. His gritty playing style and work ethic earned him the respect of teammates and fans alike.
Despite his successes in Tampa Bay, Thompson's journey in the NHL would take him to various teams as he embraced the role of a journeyman. Over the years, he played for the Anaheim Ducks, Ottawa Senators, Los Angeles Kings, and Montreal Canadiens. Each stop allowed him to bring his unique blend of skill and leadership to the locker room.
One of Thompson's most memorable moments came during the 2019-2020 season with the Philadelphia Flyers. Serving as an integral part of the team's playoff push, he displayed his ability to perform under pressure, solidifying his reputation as a clutch player. Throughout his career, Thompson has been a steady presence, providing stability and experience to the teams he's played for.
In his 844 NHL game career, Nate Thompson scored 65 goals and 99 assists for 164 points. He added eight goals and 13 assists over 86 career games in the playoffs. He also played in the 2012 and 2013 World Championships, winning a bronze medal in the latter tournament.