Sheffield Steelers - who pride themselves as the family club of British ice hockey - have accepted the decision of winger Guillaume Desbiens to leave the club despite recently signing a new two year contract with them.
The Canadian says the needs of his own family have to come first after years playing across north America and Europe.
Desbiens, 32, has been offered a job which will provide security, while forcing him reluctantly to hang up the skates.
Sheffield coach Paul Thompson said the import’s U-turn had “come out of the blue.”
“He received an opportunity he can’t turn down, one that benefits him and his family. We are bitterly disappointed but fully respect his decision.
“We are gutted because we admire him so much. We have big boots to fill and now have to move on and find the best replacement we can.”
Desbiens, who played 103 Steeler games, issued a statement saying: “After countless discussions with my family, it’s with both sadness and excitement that I have decided to retire from professional hockey.
“I’m still passionate about the game, and I believe I could have played for a few more years, but an opportunity outside hockey came knocking.
“In the end, it all comes back to doing what’s best for my family.
“When you have been travelling and living in different places, you start looking forward to the day you will be able to anchor your loved ones and offer stability.
“Our daughter will start school soon, and she deserves to have a “home,” not just a summer home and a hockey home. It’s time to start a new chapter in our lives.”
Desbiens said Sheffield was “the last stop in my journey but not the least.
“I was looking forward to another two years in “steel town,” but life had another plan.
“Thank you for being so welcoming to my family and help us create memories that will last us a lifetime.
“Going out of the tunnel onto the ice wearing a Steelers jersey was an honour. I will forever cherish my time in South Yorkshire.”