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Veteran NHL forward Vernon Fiddler has officially announced his retirement from the NHL. He made the announcement official in a letter for The Players’ Tribune.

“My whole family pushed me to follow my goal of becoming a professional hockey player,” wrote Fiddler.  “Their persistence helped get me to a tryout with the Kelowna Rockets in 1997. I hadn’t been drafted, and I hadn’t been heavily recruited — I was just invited to be an extra body at training camp. But I wound up making the team.

“The experience of making Kelowna that way prepared me for not getting selected in the 1998 NHL draft.”

For a player that wasn’t drafted in junior or the NHL, Fiddler managed to put together a solid career, as he played in 877 regular season games and 51 playoff games with Nashville, Arizona, Dallas and New Jersey. He accumulated 104 goals and 261 points during his career.

“When my chance in the NHL came with Nashville in 2002, Ray Shero, David Poile, Barry Trotz and Brent Peterson really helped me become the player I wanted to be — I’ll always be thankful to them. They didn’t let anybody slip through the cracks there. It didn’t matter if you were a first-round draft pick or an undrafted kid playing in Virginia.”

Fiddler never won a Stanley Cup during his years in the league, but he did take part in Nashville’s incredible run to the Stanley Cup final. Even though he only played in nine games during the 2017 playoffs, he still enjoyed the wild experience.

“The Cup run that that followed was the perfect way to finish my career. Even though we didn’t quite get the job done, it was an amazing few months. And to be honest, it was just icing on the cake — my whole career was.”

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