Taylor Hall returns to Windsor for jersey retirement

Cody Wall
By Cody Wall March 2, 2018 13:23


Taylor Hall during jersey retirement speech (Photo By Jordan Ferris)

By Cody Wall

One of Windsor Spitfires’ all-time greats was in Windsor Feb. 25 to reflect on memories tied to his jersey retirement.

The Windsor Spitfires honoured Taylor Hall, 26, by raising his jersey to the rafters, making him a member of a select group that includes Ed Jovanovski, 41, and Hall’s former teammate Ryan Ellis, 27. Hall joined the Spitfires in 2007 after he was selected second overall in the Ontario Hockey League draft. He spent the next three seasons playing for the Spitfires, totaling 183 games and recording a total of 280 points including 123 goals. In the three years Hall played for the Spitfires, he helped lead the team in back to back Memorial Cups in 2009 and 2010.

“It’s an amazing day, always love coming back to Windsor and to have my number up in the rafters it’s a tremendous honour along with the other guys that are up there,” said Hall.

Hall made his impact from the moment he joined the Spitfires by setting a team record in most goals by a rookie with 45, and winning both the OHL and the Candian Hockey League rookie of the year awards. However, most Spitfire fans remember Hall for his plays during the playoffs and taking his game to another level, scoring a total of 76 points in 44 playoff games. Hall won the Stafford Smythe Memorial Cup award both in 2009 and 2010 for the most valuable player in the Memorial Cup finals.

“There’s a lot of great names and I said it down at the riverfront when the Spitfires won their second Memorial Cup. This guy is flat out maybe the best Spitfire of all time,” said sports reporter Steve Bell of AM800 CKLW.

Hall’s career with the Spitfires topped off with going first overall in the 2010 NHL entry draft to the Edmonton Oilers. During the off-season, Hall often returns to Windsor to visit old friends and his billet family with whom he keeps in contact. Last season, when the Spitfires won their first Memorial Cup since Hall’s departure from the team, Hall was in attendance.

“Coming back with all the guys for the Memorial Cup last year was one of the most fun weekends I’ve had in a long time,” said Hall. “Seeing everyone after a couple years. Seeing how everyone’s doing.”

Hall was joined on the ice by his parents and his Spitfires’ billet family for his jersey retirement along with Spitfires’ General Manager Warren Rychel, 50, and Steve Bell, who has covered the Spitfires for almost 40 years.

“There will never be another Taylor Hall,” said Rychel. “There will never be a special team like the one we had. Those two teams were simply incredible.”

During Hall’s speech, he thanked members of the Spitfires organization, his billet family, his parents and Spitfires’ fans for his time with the team and his years in the city of Windsor. Hall then watched as his jersey was raised to the rafters and left the ice to a standing ovation.

Hall’s legacy in Windsor is felt both within the city and by the team, with current players looking up to Hall and his career. Tyler Angle, 17, a member of the Spitfires, scored two goals with Hall in attendance following the jersey retirement.

“A guy like him who’s obviously doing really good in the NHL right now and for him to come down here and have some words like that, it’s really nice to see and obviously it encourages us to try to be like him,” said Angle.

Hall is now in his second season with the New Jersey Devils and even though it has been eight years since he has played for the Spitfires he still thinks back about his fond memories with team and city of Windsor.

“It was such a great time in my life really. We were going to high school here, playing on a great hockey team,” said Hall.

Cody Wall
By Cody Wall March 2, 2018 13:23

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