Nashville Predators captain Mike Fisher announced his retirement on Thursday after 17 NHL seasons.

Predators’ Mike Fisher Retirement news

The 37-year-old Canadian center told The Tennessean that he was stepping away from hockey and submitted a letter explaining his decision to the publication. The letter was addressed to fans.

“This is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, but I know I’ve made the right one,” Fisher wrote in the letter, which was also released on the Predators’ website. “I’ve decided to retire from the NHL.”

Fisher compiled 276 goals and 309 assists in 1,088 career NHL games with the Predators — for whom he had played since 2010 — and Ottawa Senators, whom he joined in 1999. Last season, he recorded 18 goals and 24 assists in leading Nashville to the Western Conference title and the Stanley Cup Final, where the Predators fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.

“Knowing we were so close to winning it all in June only makes it more difficult to leave it behind, but I do so with hope,” Fisher continued in his letter. “Endings are always tough, but I believe when something ends, there are new beginnings, new opportunities and new things to be excited for, too.”

The Ontario native also expressed his appreciation to the city of Nashville and its fans for their loyalty.

“The way the city was behind us was unbelievable, and that’s what makes the memory such a high — but also bittersweet,” wrote Fisher, who has been married to country music star Carrie Underwood since 2010. “Can you imagine if we had a parade down Broadway?

“It’s moments like that which I know I’ll miss. 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.”

Fisher was named the Predators’ captain prior to last season. In seven campaigns with the team, he recorded 237 points on 109 goals and 128 assists. In 11 seasons with the Senators — who selected the center with the 44th pick in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft — Fisher amassed 167 goals and 181 assists.

Underwood congratulated and praised Fisher in an Instagram post on Thursday: “Captain @mfisher1212 I sure am going to miss watching you play and cheering you on with the rest of Smashville, but I so look forward to seeing what God has in store for you in this next chapter of your life. You’ve given your teammates and the game your all for so many years,” the 34-year-old singer wrote about her husband. “You’ve worked so hard and made us all so proud! Isaiah and I love you so much and are so excited to be able to have you home a lot more…We can’t wait to cheer on the @predsnhl WITH you in the stands! #ThankYouSmashville #PredsFansForLife.”

Former Predators forward James Neal — who was traded to the newly-formed Las Vegas Golden Knights in the June expansion draft — also congratulated Fisher on Instagram.

“Your leadership and friendship allowed our team to bring an entire city together in our quest for the Stanley Cup … and that will always be one of the greatest memories of my life,” Neal said. “Congratulations on an incredible career, but the greatest mark on your résumé is the Man you are one of the best examples of hard work, integrity, humility and class. We’ll all miss you!!!”

Fisher — who also had 23 goals and 28 assists in 13 career playoff games — was the seventh captain in Predators franchise history after the team traded defenseman Shea Weber to the Montreal Canadiens for P.K. Subban last year.

Defenseman Roman Josi — who is entering his seventh season in Nashville — is a top candidate to replace Fisher as captain.

NASHVILLE, TN – JUNE 05: Mike Fisher #12 of the Nashville Predators dives for the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period in Game Four of the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Bridgestone Arena on June 5, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

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