Brendan Shanahan retired from the NHL yesterday, ending a brilliant 21-year career that may be remembered as much for what he did for the game away from the rink as for his accomplishments on the ice.

A fierce competitor, the 40-year-old leaves the ice as the 11th leading goal-scorer on the all-time list (656) with three Stanley Cups and a trophy case full of individual honors.

“I would like to thank my family and all of the friends who have helped me achieve and maintain my childhood dream of playing in the National Hockey League,” he said in a statement.

“I am enormously grateful to all of my coaches and teammates I’ve had the privilege of learning from and playing alongside of.”