Former Arizona Coyotes forward Shane Doan announced his retirement Wednesday.
Doan, 40, had been an unrestricted free agent. The Coyotes had informed Doan on June 17 that they would not be re-signing him.
Selected by the Winnipeg Jets with the No. 7 pick of the 1995 NHL Draft, Doan had spent his entire 21-season NHL career with the Jets/Coyotes franchise, which moved to Arizona from Winnipeg in 1996.
Doan made the announcement in a letter to fans published in The Arizona Republic.
"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 while reminiscing about his first game in Phoenix, which came at the start of his second NHL season. "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."
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Doan had 27 points (six goals, 27 assists) in 74 games last season, which also was his 13th as Coyotes captain.
In 1,540 NHL games, he had 972 points (402 goals, 570 assists). He's the Jets/Coyotes leader in all four categories.
He's also one of nine players in NHL history to have played at least 21 seasons with the same franchise; three played more games with one organization than Doan did (Gordie Howe, 1,687, Detroit Red Wings; Nicklas Lidstrom, 1,584, Red Wings; Alex Delvecchio, 1,549, Red Wings). He's tied for 14th for most games played in NHL history.
Video: Shane Doan hangs up his skates after 21 NHL seasons
The Coyotes released a statement congratulating Doan on his career: "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. 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!"
Video: Thank You, Shane Doan
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.
Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona, and was a Coyotes fan prior to being the No. 1 pick of the 2016 NHL Draft and last season's Calder Trophy winner.
"My childhood idol growing up," Matthews posted on his Twitter account. "Amazing player and an even better person. Congrats on an unbelievable career Doaner!"
"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."