The Jason Spezza you may not know has some of the best fashion sense in hockey.
The Jason Spezza you may not know goes all-in for Halloween and listens to Billie Eilish.
The Jason Spezza you may not know tracks league news like an NHL insider and is so obsessive about his sticks it once led him on a desperate hunt for a power tool in Europe.
The Jason Spezza you may not know is also one of the most beloved and admired veterans in the NHL today.
“He was a superstar when I came into the league,” said San Jose Sharks defenceman Erik Karlsson, who played five years alongside Spezza with the Ottawa Senators. “I just remember how friendly he was and how outgoing he is and how dedicated he is to trying to teach and help other people out. That was probably the main thing and the reason why we became as good friends as we are to this day.”
Over the course of his 18-year career, with stops in Ottawa, Dallas and Toronto, Spezza has become one of the more familiar names and faces to fans across the league.
But to those in hockey who know him best, Spezza’s impressive resume and longevity comprise only a small part of what makes him one of the more fascinating and revered personalities in the game today.
There’s more. A lot more.
A humble phenom
Spezza played in the OHL as a 15-year-old with Brampton in 1998-99, putting up 71 points in 67 games while drawing comparisons to previous junior phenoms Eric Lindros and Mario Lemieux. At 16, Spezza suited up for Team Canada in the world junior tournament. While attending a Team Canada summer development camp in Halifax in the early 2000s, Spezza was asked if a local young phenom could follow him around.
Brendan Bell, Ottawa Senators teammate 2008-09: One day, (a staff member) said, “The trainers and the Hockey Canada staff are out skating at lunch. They’re just playing shinny. There’s a kid out there,” and he was talking more to Spezz than to me. He said, “There’s a kid out there that you should go see and I want you to meet.” And we go out and we sit on the bench and watch this kid playing shinny with a bunch of men. And he’s dominant — like, he should be skating with us. And it turned out to be Sid (Crosby).