Sydney Thunder batsman Aiden Blizzard has retired from professional cricket after a career that saw him win seven T20 championships.
The 33-year old joined Thunder from the Hobart Hurricanes ahead of BBL|04 and is the club's fifth highest run-scorer with 390-runs in 21 matches at an average of 26.
"I was in the market for an opportunity," said Blizzard on his decision to join Thunder.
"I'd played a lot of cricket, but opportunities with the Hurricanes were minimal. Thunder presented the chance to both play and build a new culture alongside Mike Hussey and Nick Cummins.
Thunder had won just three games in their first three seasons, but Blizzard was impressed with the clubs' desire to reinvent itself.
"Speaking to Nick and Mike I knew there was a passion to hit restart on the club," said Blizzard.
"The franchise has come a long way, we'll always be judged on the field but the opportunity to change the culture and engage the fans is something I'm really proud to have been involved with, it's going to be tough to say goodbye.
"The Thunder fans have been very understanding and patient, they're a unique bunch that have gone through some tough times, but are very loyal."
Coming through the ranks at Victoria alongside Clint McKay, Blizzard helped Victoria become state T20 champions in the 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2009-10 seasons and runner-up in 2008-2009.
"I played with Clint in under-15's, so to be at the same club in my last game was very special," said Blizzard.
A move to South Australia in 2010 saw him lift the state T20 trophy once again in the final year before it became the KFC Big Bash League and he would sign with the Adelaide Strikers.
The left-hand bat moved to Tasmania the following year with the Hobart Hurricanes while also joining the Mumbai Indians in the IPL where he won the Champions League in 2011.
Upon joining Sydney Thunder, Blizzard made an immediate impact batting within the top four and topping the run scoring table with 240-runs, including an unbeaten 80 against the Sydney Sixers in his first season with the club.
In Thunder's championship winning season the following year Blizzard and South African legend Jacques Kallis formed an aggressive opening partnership, at its best in Thunder's 7-wicket victory over the Adelaide Strikers at Spotless Stadium.
"I'd played a lot against Jacques Kallis in the IPL and Champions League but didn't really know him. We went on to have a great relationship and we still keep in touch now," said Blizzard.
"The final in BBL|05 was my highlight with Thunder.
"Usman Khawaja really stood up in the final but everyone made a contribution during the tournament that year, it was something very special.
"There's no doubt we've missed Mike Hussey since he retired, he brought the best out of people and it's hard to imagine that any team would be able to replace a Mike Hussey."
Blizzard made his debut for Thunder at ANZ Stadium in December 2014, but believes Spotless Stadium has developed into a top cricket venue.
"The evolution of Spotless Stadium has been very significant," said Blizzard.
"Early on there were challenges with drop in pitches, use of the ground during the season and access to the facilities were challenging, but it's now turning into a genuine international venue."
While opportunities were limited for Blizzard in the last two seasons, he has enjoyed watching younger members of the squad develop.
One of Blizzard's more memorable innings was in his final game at Spotless Stadium, where his 24-run partnership with Arjun Nair helped Thunder beat the Sixers in a final ball thriller.
"Arjun Nair and Chris Green are still two young cricketers who have both been up against it in terms of contracting and controversy," said Blizzard.
"They're talented, very resilient and both have their best cricket ahead of them."
Blizzard has recently moved back to Melbourne where he aims to finish his studies and spend more time with his young family.
"I've played cricket for 15-years, ten of those on the road, that's where the decision has come from," said Blizzard on his decision to stop playing.
"I've got two units of my MBA to finish, while I look to support my wife's business.
"I gave cricket a good crack and I loved it, but now it's time to be a family man and look for opportunities outside of playing professionally.
"I'd love to free up a place in the squad for someone young to come through and enjoy similar experiences to what I've had.
"I'm thankful to have played cricket and would love to contribute to Australian cricket moving forward."
AIDEN BLIZZARD T20 STATS
Adelaide Strikers, Canterbury Kings, Hobart Hurricanes, Mumbai Indians, Rajshahi Division, South Australia, Sydney Thunder, Victoria
NOT OUT: 11
HIGHEST SCORE: 89
STRIKE RATE: 1,541
4 x KFC Twenty20 Big Bash - Victoria, South Australia
KFC Big Bash League - Sydney Thunder
Champions League - Mumbai Indians
Bangladesh Premier League - Rajashari Rangers