Retirement plans, Part III.

Todd Jackson’s ability to calculate odds is probably better than
yours or mine. So take him seriously when he says he is “better than 50
percent” retired.

The speedy forward, an original member of the
expansion Reign club, saw his production take a step back in 2009-10. After
posting 14 goals and 29 points in 57 games in 2008-09, Jackson had two
goals and six points this season as injuries limited him to just 18
games. Jackson broke his nose in practice during the season’s first
month and didn’t make his debut until December. All told, it was
the toughest of his six professional seasons.

For the moment, he’s putting those oddsmaking skills to good use.

“I’m going to play some poker here and there to make a few bucks, keep me afloat,” Jackson said recently. “Over the last few years, that’s been my summer job. It’s really supplemented my hockey income. I just got back from Vegas, won a poker tournament there. For now it seems like a viable job.”

A former World Series of Poker participant, Jackson would love to return to poker’s grandest stage again. There are other options on the table.

“My friend is a producer in Hollywood; I’ve thought about doing creative stuff like that,” he said. “I’ve thought about real estate. I’m really open. My whole life has been hockey and I don’t have
too much experience outside the rink. I really have no idea.”

Jackson has a solid hockey resume, having played for a pair of U.S. Junior National teams and the National Under-18 team in 1999-2000. Since playing four years at the University of Maine, he’s enjoyed stints with the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL), Toledo Storm (ECHL), Phoenix Roadrunners (ECHL) and the Newcastle Vipers of the English Ice Hockey League.

He was selected in the eighth round of the 2000 Entry Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, who took future NHL players Niklas Kronwall and Tomas Kopecky in the same draft.

“If I find a road that there’s something left in hockey for me, I’ll definitely consider that,” Jackson said. “As of now I feel like I’m ready for a new project.”

Last but not least, a brief Q&A:

Most memorable moment?

My time in college. We played in the national championship game a couple of my years there. For the college ranks, that’s the pinnacle. We got right there.

Turning pro, playing pro was a big dream of mine. There hasn’t been one moment. I wasn’t fortunate enough to win a championship in pro. There probably hasn’t been anything comparable to the national championship game.

Best player you ever played with?

Growing up I played with Tim Connolly from the Buffalo Sabres. He’s still a great player. (Current Detroit Red Wings goalie) Jimmy Howard was our goalie in Maine. He might be up for rookie of the year. A lot of guys like that I’ve been fortunate enough to play with.

Best player you ever played against?

I played against (New York Rangers forward) Marian Gaborik in an under-18 national tournament. He was a year younger than everyone there, but years beyond us in experience. I think he scored about four goals on us. It wasn’t a pleasant experience.

Favorite city you played in?

I’m going to say Toledo. I think the atmosphere there, I was fortunate to be on the home side there. It was this old-school rink with so much character. The fans were amazing. It was just, it felt like a very old-school hockey type of atmosphere – just always a lot of fun.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.