In a statement, the player thanked those involved in his career including Kiwi coach Kevin Fallon and the Bloc 5 supporters in Auckland.

"The game still means a lot to me and I’m sure I won’t be able to hold myself back from playing locally at some stage. But for now the boots are off and the game of life is on!" he said.

Hickey will continue to work in community development through an organisation called Shine, which he explains is "a partnership with AUT University to deliver a program continuing and extending this work, and is available to challenge, support and inspire motivated secondary school students initially across the Auckland region."

The tributes have been flowing in to Hickey's website including one from former Jets striker Vaughan Coveny. In it he says Hickey was "the best team man" he's ever played with.