By: Pat Salvas
HANOVER, N.H. â€“ Former All-American and Dartmouth men’s hockey team captain Lee Stempniak ’05 announced his retirement from the National Hockey League Tuesday morning after 14 seasons.
A two-time All-American at Dartmouth (2004, 2005), Stempniak appeared in 911 NHL games in his career, the most of any former player in program history, passing Carey Wilson’s ’83 mark of 552. He retires with 203 career goals, 266 assists and 469 points, all Dartmouth records at the NHL level.
“Lee is the epitome of what a college student-athlete should be,” Koenig Family Head Coach Bob Gaudet ’81 said. “He was hardworking, intelligent, dedicated, humble and an outstanding representative for our hockey team on the ice and for Dartmouth College away from it.
“I’m so proud of the incredible career Lee had in the NHL,” Gaudet continued. “A true 200-foot player, he brought so many people at Thompson Arena to their feet and was instrumental in elevating our program. A great role model for his teammates and the players who came after him, Lee composed himself with so much class during his career and was a great ambassador for this program and our school.”
Drafted by the St. Louis Blues with the 148th pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Stempniak would lead the team in goals in his first full season with the team, scoring 27 times in the 2006-07 season. Over the next 13 seasons, he would play for 10 teams, finishing his career with the Bruins in 2018-19.
Stempniak played 100 or more games for five teams, including St. Louis (233), the Calgary Flames (160), Toronto Maple Leafs (123), Carolina Hurricanes (119) and Phoenix Coyotes (100).
Stempniak was a huge reason for Dartmouth’s program resurgence in the early 2000s, turning the Big Green into one of the top teams in ECAC Hockey during his collegiate career. His 151 points in a Dartmouth sweater rank fourth all-time, while his 63 goals are 10th in program history. He became the first Big Green skater to reach 60 career tallies in 25 years when he hit the figure during his senior season.
Only one player in Dartmouth history has appeared in more games than Stempniak’s 135, former linemate Mike Ouelette ’06 (136). The West Seneca, New York, native was a First Team All-American as a junior in 2003-04 and a second-team selection as a senior the following year, becoming the first Dartmouth player to earn multiple All-America honors since Bill Riley ’46 in the late 1940s.
Stempniak was a two-time All-ECAC Hockey First Team player in his final two seasons, the only player in program history to accomplish the feat. He was also a member of the league’s 2001-02 All-Rookie Team.