Pavelski: 'It wasn't easy' leaving Sharks after 13 seasons
Kavin Mistry / National Hockey League / Getty

Joe Pavelski is providing a window into the thought process that led him to bid farewell to the San Jose Sharks after more than a decade.

"Oh yeah, it was tough," the Dallas Stars forward and former Sharks captain told NBC Sports Bay Area's Josh Schrock on Wednesday. "I don't want to say it was harder than I thought it was going to be because I knew it was going to be hard once we got to that state and started looking at different teams and understanding that it was a real possibility that we should be prepared in case it gets there."

Pavelski, who'll turn 35 on Thursday, signed a three-year, $21-million deal with the Stars on July 1 after playing the last 13 campaigns with the Sharks.

The veteran center, who wore the 'C' in San Jose for the last four seasons, ranks among the club's all-time leaders in goals, assists, points, and games played.

"I've only got good things to say about San Jose and the organization there," he said. "The way the guys have treated me and the teammates that I've had that are still there. It was tough to leave. You don't stay somewhere for 13 years and not grow attached to it.

"I've just got some tremendous friendships there and you know it's not really goodbye; it's more of a thank you to the fans and everyone that was involved and helped turn me into the player and person I am today. Those decisions never come lightly and it wasn't easy."

Pavelski was an unrestricted free agent who also reportedly garnered interest from the Tampa Bay Lightning and Minnesota Wild.

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Pavelski: 'It wasn't easy' leaving Sharks after 13 seasons
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