Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher announced his retirement from the NHL on Thursday.
Fisher, 37, made the announcement in a letter published by The Tennessean. The Predators captain had been debating whether to continue playing after the expiration of his contract last season.
"This is the hardest decision I've ever had to make, but I know I've made the right one," Fisher wrote.
"This job I've been able to have for a majority of my life is so much fun. To help create that entertainment and to see the joy we can bring to people is such a unique and exciting opportunity. I'll miss my teammates, my coaches and the game itself.
"I believe that this team, that this city, is going to win a championship, and I'm going to be the biggest fan. No one will be happier than I will be to see it happen, because these fans, they deserve it."
Video: Mike Fisher announces his retirement
Fisher, who was named captain after defenseman Shea Weber was traded to the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman P.K. Subban on June 29, 2016, had 585 points (276 goals, 309 assists) in 1,088 NHL games with the Predators and Ottawa Senators. He was Ottawa's second-round pick (No. 44) in the 1998 NHL Draft.
Fisher helped Nashville reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time last season. It lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.
[RELATED: Read Mike Fisher's goodbye note]
"I'm going to miss working with Mike," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "He did an excellent job of leading our club both on and off the ice in such an important year of transition. His character, passion and honesty were on display every day. He embodies the definition of what a leader and captain should be.
"He was fearless with how he played the game. Every night, he gave everything he had. He set an example for everyone else to follow. It's hard not to love him as a player and a person. He is the ultimate role model. I am thankful for the opportunity to share the times we did."
Fisher was injured in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final aganst the Anaheim Ducks when he was kneed in the head. He missed two games before returning for the Stanley Cup Final.
"When I think of Mike Fisher, I think of 'team,'" Nashville general manager David Poile said. "When I'm building a team, I think of Mike Fisher. I think Mike Fisher could play in any era of the National Hockey League because of the way he played the game: purposely, honestly and hard, every game. When you're finding a definition of a pro hockey player, Mike Fisher's name should be a part of that definition."
Buffalo Sabres coach Phil Housley, formerly an assistant with the Predators, said, "He had a big impact when he became captain in Nashville. He was a terrific role model for young guys. He practices the right way. He carries himself the right way and he's a fierce competitor.
"One of the toughest guys to play against in my opinion, game in and game out. I think he's had a terrific career. I am really happy for him. I would be with any decision he made. He's just a terrific person and I can't say enough great things about him and his family and what he's meant for the Nashville organization."
Fisher is married to country music singer Carrie Underwood, who sang the national anthem prior to Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round between the Predators and Chicago Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena last season.