Veteran defenseman Dillon Simpson has announced his retirement from professional hockey and revealed his new role as an assistant coach with the University of North Dakota hockey program, according to a release from the Fighting Hawks. The son of former Edmonton Oiler Craig Simpson, his decision to step away from active professional play marks the conclusion of a career that spanned nine seasons in the minors and nearly 500 AHL games.
Simpson’s professional journey began in 2011 after being selected in the fourth round by the Edmonton Oilers as an over-ager after a decent freshman season at North Dakota. He would spend the entirety of his pro career in the Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets after turning pro in 2014. He did only ever play three NHL games, all coming with Edmonton in the 2016-17 season, but grew into a respected leader and shutdown defender at the AHL level.
Post-retirement, Simpson, 30, returns to the school he captained during his senior season and accumulated 75 points and a +22 rating across four seasons and 156 appearances.
Used heavily in shutdown situations, Simpson spent the last four seasons in a leadership role for the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters, including serving as the team’s captain for the last two. He fell out of a regular role last season thanks to an early-season injury, however. Simpson skated in 29 games in 2022-23, recording a goal and an assist. He never won a Calder Cup but remained an integral part of AHL Bakersfield and Cleveland’s systems for nearly a decade.
PHR extends its best wishes to Simpson in his retirement and hopes for the best in his coaching career.