Bruins captain Bergeron announces retirement

Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron, one of the best two-way forwards ever, announced his retirement Tuesday.

"It is with a full heart and a lot of gratitude that today I am announcing my retirement as a professional hockey player," he said in a first-person story on NHL.com.

"As hard as it is to write, I also write it knowing how blessed and lucky I feel to have had the career that I have had, and that I have the opportunity to leave the game I love on my terms. It wasn't a decision that I came to lightly. But after listening to my body, and talking with my family, I know in my heart that this is the right time to step away from playing the game I love."

Bergeron retires one day after his 38th birthday. He had considered retirement a year ago but returned on a one-year contract and helped the Bruins to the best regular-season record in NHL history.

Boston lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Cinderella Florida Panthers, who went on to lose in the Stanley Cup Final.

Bergeron does have one Stanley Cup of his own, winning it in 2011. Boston also lost in the 2013 Final. He spent his entire 19-year career wearing the spoked-B sweater.

Bergeron finishes as a three-time All-Star but most importantly, he was one of the best two-way centers ever -- winning the Selke Trophy as the league's best defensive forward a record six times. He won it the last two seasons.

Despite his defensive prowess, he still scored 427 goals and had over 1,000 points.

In his statement, Bergeron thanked the fans, his teammates and his family for their support. He concluded:

"Finally, to the next generation of hockey players. I had a dream at 12 years old, and through hard work and perseverance my dreams came true more than I ever could have imagined. Respect the game and your peers. Welcome adversity and simply enjoy yourself. No matter where you go from there the game will bring you so much happiness," he said.

"As I step away today, I have no regrets. I have only gratitude that I lived my dream, and excitement for what is next for my family and I. I left everything out there and I'm humbled and honored it was representing this incredible city and for the Boston Bruins fans."