Defenseman Paetsch announces retirement

Photo: Mark Newman

The Rochester Americans today announced the retirement of defenseman Nathan Paetsch.

Paetsch, 37, played 17 seasons of pro hockey, including 651 regular-season games in the AHL with Rochester (2003-06, 2010-11, 2017-20), Syracuse (2010-11) and Grand Rapids (2012-17). He totaled 52 goals and 207 assists for 259 points, with a plus/minus rating of plus-102, and was an AHL All-Star in 2006.

Paetsch also skated in 104 postseason games, tied for 16th place on the AHL’s all-time list. He won two Calder Cups with Grand Rapids, as an alternate captain in 2013 and as team captain in 2017.

The native of LeRoy, Sask., was also a four-time recipient of his team’s IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for community service, earning the honor in Grand Rapids in 2017 and in Rochester in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

A seventh-round choice by Buffalo in the 2003 NHL Draft, Paetsch played 167 regular-season games in the NHL with the Sabres and Columbus Blue Jackets, recording seven goals and 35 assists for 42 points. He appeared in one Stanley Cup Playoff game as well, drawing into the lineup for the Sabres in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final at Carolina on June 1, 2006.

“I was extremely fortunate to play the game for as long as I have and to create so many lasting friendships with teammates, coaches, front office staff and support staff,” said Paetsch in a statement. “I couldn’t be happier to have started and finished my career with the Rochester Americans. The city and organization not only gave me a place to play, but more importantly, a home and a family.

“Playing in the Stanley Cup Conference Finals with the Buffalo Sabres was truly a dream come true. Winning two Calder Cups with the Grand Rapids Griffins will always hold a special place in my heart. The bonds I share with the city and organization will last forever.

“None of this, though, would have been possible without the endless support of my loving wife, Jaclyn, and two children, Kellen and Mira. I simply cannot thank my family enough for their countless sacrifices for allowing me to pursue my dream of playing this great game.”