"As I graduate from my time of playing in the NHL, I realize I have the problem of being unable to properly thank the hundreds of people who have helped me achieve my goal of playing in the best league in the world," Ference said in a statement. "No one gets here on their own, especially average sized guys with average skills. If you think you deserve a thank you from me, you probably do... Thanks!
"My girls, Ava and Stella, and my wife, Krista, however do deserve a proper thanks and my infinite gratitude. They tended my broken bones and bruised ego more times than I can count and gave me unending love and support even when I missed a Christmas concert for a road trip."
Ference, 38, played in six games in 2015-16 for the Edmonton Oilers and none last year because of a hip injury that required surgery.
He was an Oilers captain from 2013 to 2015 and endorsed current captain Connor McDavid for the job when he realized he likely wouldn't play again.