Former Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan announced his retirement from the NHL on Wednesday after 21 seasons.
The 40-year-old Doan only played for the Coyotes during his career, dating back to before the franchise moved from Winnipeg to Arizona in 1996. The forward was the seventh overall pick by the Jets in 1995.
Doan had been an unrestricted free agent after the Coyotes informed him on June 19 that they would not be re-signing him to focus on younger players.
The 6-foot-1, 223-pound right winger made his announcement in a first-person letter to fans published in the Arizona Republic.
"I'm so grateful and thankful to the Winnipeg Jets for drafting me and giving me a chance to play my rookie season and when the team moved to the Valley in 1996, all I wanted to know was if the Coyotes would keep giving me a chance to play," Doan wrote in the letter.
"I could not fathom at the time that I would end up playing in Arizona for the next 21 years, raise a family and call this place home. But that's exactly what happened. And that's why this has been one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make. I'm retiring from the NHL."
Doan recorded 27 points (six goals, 27 assists) in 74 games last season, which also was his 13th as Coyotes captain.
Doan is the team's career leader in games played (1,540), shots (3,945), goals (402), assists (570), points (972), power-play goals (128) and game-winning goals (69). He is tied for 14th for most games played in NHL history.
"On behalf of the entire Arizona Coyotes organization, our fans and our corporate partners, we would like to thank Shane for everything that he's done for our franchise over the past 21 years," the team said in a statement. "Shane had an incredible career on the ice and we are very proud of everything that he accomplished in a Coyotes uniform. He will be remembered as one of the greatest captains in NHL history. Off the ice, Shane was a great ambassador for growing the game of hockey in Arizona and his contributions to the community are immeasurable. Shane will be a Coyote for life. Thank you Captain!"
Doan played in the NHL All-Star Game in 2004 and 2009, and in 2010 he won the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the player who exemplifies leadership on and off the ice and has made a significant humanitarian contribution to his community.
"I have peace, and I'm so thankful for that," Doan wrote. "I've been blessed and I'm so grateful for the fans and their support. They stuck by me throughout my career and the ups and downs of the Coyotes. There are a lot of players with more skill than me and a lot more ability than me that didn't ever get the type of appreciation that I got and the type of respect that the fans gave me, and I'm so grateful for that. I can't express how much I appreciate it. Thank you for watching me grow up, and I enjoyed watching a lot of you grow up, too.
"I also want say thanks to the Coyotes, who provided me the opportunity to stay in the Valley for 21 years. That's one of the most meaningful accomplishments of my career, and I'll forever cherish the friendships I've made along the way. ...
"Even though my perspective will be different, my love for the NHL won't change and I'll continue to share that passion with the hockey fans in Arizona. Thank you for loving the game with me. Thank you for the unwavering support. Thank you for fighting to keep the team here. Thank you for allowing this to be my home. And thank you for coming to spend a night with me playing hockey. It's been incredible."