Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference officially announced his retirement after 16 seasons in the NHL on Thursday.
Ference spent the last four seasons with the Oilers and served as the team's captain from 2013-15. The 38-year-old Alberta native recorded six goals, 26 assists and 108 penalty minutes in 147 career games with Edmonton.
Ference played just six games in 2015-16 before undergoing season-ending hip surgery, and he did not play any games for the Oilers this past season..
"As I graduate from my time of playing in the NHL, I realize I have the problem of being unable to properly thank the hundreds of people who have helped me achieve my goal of playing in the best league in the world," the 5-foot-11, 184-pound Ference said. "No one gets here on their own, especially average-sized guys with average skills. If you think you deserve a thank you from me, you probably do. ... Thanks!
"My girls, Ava and Stella, and my wife, Krista, however do deserve a proper thanks and my infinite gratitude. They tended my broken bones and bruised ego more times than I can count and gave me unending love and support even when I missed a Christmas concert for a road trip."
Ference accumulated 225 points (43 goals, 182 assists) and 753 penalty minutes in 907 career contests with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Calgary Flames, Boston Bruins and Oilers. He was selected by Pittsburgh in the eighth round of the 1997 NHL draft.
"Lastly, thank you to Pittsburgh, Calgary ... Boston and Edmonton," Ference said. "Your love of our sport provided me with an incredible stage to play on and your cities will always feel like home to me. Hockey fans really are amazing!"