DALLAS – Dallas Stars head coach Ken Hitchcock says he’s stood behind the bench for the last time.

Hitchcock on Friday announced his retirement from coaching in the NHL. He wrote in a retirement letter that it’s time to “let the younger generation of coaches take over."

The 66-year-old returned to Dallas, where he won a Stanley Cup in 1999, for the 2017 season. He came back on a multi-year contract with the option to move into a front office role after its conclusion.

It was not immediately clear Friday if a move to the front office was in the plan.

Friday’s announcement shouldn’t come as a surprise to Stars fans, especially after Dallas lost 17 of its final 26 games – including an eight-game losing skid in March – to drop out of the playoff picture. According to NHL.com, Hitchcock planned to retire after the 2016-17 season, his sixth with the St. Louis Blues.

"I was done, to be honest with you,” he told NHL.com. “But when those coaches started calling and asking for help, it got me revved up."

Hitchcock finishes his 22-year career as the third-winningest coach in NHL history. He logged an 823-506-88 combined record with the Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, Columbus Blue Jackets and St. Louis.

Read Hitchcock's retirement letter below or here.