If Nashville Predators captain Mike Fisher was going to retire, last season presented him with a grand finale. He had 42 points in 72 games, and played a vital role in the Predators’ first journey to the Stanley Cup Final. All of this while turning 37 in June, having played 1,088 games between the Ottawa Senators and Nashville Predators.
Rather than hang on for too long – and potentially force the Predators into an uncomfortable cap-related decision – Fisher called it a career on Thursday with a letter to Nashville fans that ran in The Tennessean and on the team’s website.
It’s the thing Mike Fisher does when he’s leaving a team, having previously done it in Ottawa.
“This is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make, but I know I’ve made the right one. I’ve decided to retire from the NHL.
“I kept praying for peace about the next step in my life. A peace that said this is God’s will for your future. A peace that said whether or not this was the right time to walk away.
“I don’t believe it came in a single instance or some aha moment, but as time passed, I gradually became certain that it was right for me to retire. I believe God gave me the ability to play hockey, and I was helped by dozens of individuals along the way, so it’s not just up to me on when it’s time to say goodbye.
“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. Endings are always tough, but I believe when something ends, there are new beginnings, new opportunities and new things to be excited for, too.”
Obviously, when it comes to family, Fisher’s in a situation few NHL players can claim to understand: His wife, Carrie Underwood, is exponentially more famous than he is. One imagines it’s now his turn to show up to concerts wearing Carrie T-shirts and dancing along. “They’ve supported me without question, and now it’s my turn to return the favor,” he wrote.
What to say of Mike Fisher’s career?
Solid two-way center that could get you 20 goals and play a versatile role. A player who grew into the captain’s role when Shea Weber was traded, and according to his teammates he thrived in it. A frequent member of “hunks of the NHL” lists.
But as his letter to fans also noted, Mike Fisher’s time in the NHL will also be defined by his outspoken dedication to his faith.
How many NHL players have appeared on “The 700 Club?” (OK, there was Shane Doan.) How many have filmed a segment for “I Am Second,” in which individuals profess their dedication to the almighty? How other players get their names attached to headlines like, “Mike Fisher: Giving It All for Jesus?”
Of course, that devotion hasn’t been without its controversy. Fisher supported the Supreme Court ruling on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby in 2014, as the arts and crafts store argued that “religious beliefs prohibit them from providing health coverage for contraceptive drugs and devices that end human life after conception,” i.e. the Plan B pill and devices like IUDs.
[For more on religion and hockey, see our “National Secular League” story from 2015.]
He was a player of faith, who has faith that the Predators will eventually reach the promised land without him. “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,” he said.
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