NHL

Shane Doan officially announces his retirement

Former Arizona Coyotes forwardShane Doanis done playing professional hockey.

Doan, 40, who was told on June 17 that the Coyotes were not interested in bringing him back for a 22nd season, announced his decision in a letter to the fans published Wednesday in the Arizona Republic.

Thus ends a 21-year career spent entirely with the Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets franchise that saw Doan establish himself as the franchise's goodwill ambassador during its many ups and downs after it relocated to Arizona in 1996. He holds virtually every meaningful team record -- including games played (1,540), goals (402), assists (570) and points (972).

"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," Doan wrote. "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."

"Ive been blessed and Im 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 didnt ever get the type of appreciation that I got and the type of respect that the fans gave me, and Im so grateful for that. I cant 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. Thats one of the most meaningful accomplishments of my career, and Ill forever cherish the friendships Ive made along the way."

A complete text of the letter can be found here.