A farewell letter penned by Justin Abdelkader has appeared in the Players Tribune Monday.

Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman bought out the final three years of his contract in October, a move described as a “cost-savings” decision.

“All I ever wanted to be was a Red Wing,” the piece begins. “As a boy, that’s what I dreamed of. It was a dream I felt like I could reach out and touch when I was five years old and I was at the Joe Louis Arena for the very first time. … Walking through the concourse I must have looked like a kid on Christmas Day. I remember running up to the entrance of our section and peeking through the plastic curtains that hid the ice from the hallways — that was when I saw the Joe in all her beauty for the first time.”

He also penned that he will “truly miss all the amazing individuals I have met in this city, sacrificing their time and energy to help others. Because that’s what Detroit is — that’s what the Red Wings’ organization is. It’s just people. It’s people doing their very best for one another, no matter what, and expecting the same in return.

“I know there are good times ahead. This team is building something special — trust me. I’ve seen this franchise at it’s best. I know what it takes. It will come. And when it does, that group of players will have the best fans in the world behind them, cheering them on.”

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