It was going to happen someday, and it happened Tuesday: Patrice Bergeron announced his retirement.

The 2011 Stanley Cup champion released a letter dedicated to his time with the Boston Bruins, his 19-year NHL journey and his family.

Bergeron was among the few rare athletes who were beloved by hometown fans and even rivals. He was one of the most respected players in the NHL, and Bruins fans were sad to see the longtime captain call it a career and paid respect to the franchise legend.

The Bruins released a heartfelt tribute to Bergeron on Twitter as the 38-year-old ends his hockey career with six Selke Trophies and an Olympic gold medal.

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Tune into NESN’s “Merçi Patrice” special Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET. Boston scheduled a news conference for Bergeron’s retirement at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Featured image via Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports Images