Peterhead boss Jim McInally has hailed the contributions of Jamie Stevenson, Jack Leitch, Paddy Boyle, Cammy Eadie, Scott Hooper and David Ferguson after they left the club.
Defenders Boyle, who has joined Lowland League side Kelty Hearts and Eadie move on due to changes in personal circumstances, while budget cutbacks mean McInally was unable to make suitable offers to defender Ferguson and midfielder Leitch.
The latter is keen to step up to full-time football and Raith Rovers are understood to have shown an interest.
Defenders Stevenson and Hooper, who has also joined Kelty, also leave.
Stevenson was the Buchan side’s longest-serving player, having spent the last six years at Balmoor.
During that time the 36-year-old won the League Two title last year and helped the club reach the 2016 Challenge Cup final where they faced Rangers at Hampden.
McInally said: “It’s sad and we go back a long way. I know it’s football and things change and players move on but it doesn’t stop you being sentimental.
“Jamie probably should have played at a higher level during his career, but I’ve been lucky to have him and Peterhead have been lucky to have him.
“Trying to replace guys like Jamie is the really hard part of management.
“He can play a number of different positions. The last couple of seasons he’s excelled at right-back but he’s been great for us further forward as well.
“Jamie’s 36 now and he’s started to pick up a few more injuries and it takes longer to recover.
“That’s maybe partly to do with the travelling he was putting in to play for us and also his job driving lorries.
“I think he feels it’s better to be closer to home to allow himself a better chance to balance work and football. But that doesn’t stop it being sad. I’ve got lots of good memories with Jamie, he’s a great guy and a great professional.”
Leitch, 25, joined the Blue Toon in 2017 and has been a regular over the last three seasons.
His double at Hampden against Queen’s Park on the final day of the 2018-19 campaign secured the League Two title.
McInally added: “He was a massive part of that league winning team, he stepped up during that run-in.
“He’s been a great player for us over the last three seasons. He’s got a brilliant attitude and he’s a brilliant professional.
“He’s a technical player, but I think during his time with us he’s added an incredible work-rate to his game.”
Boyle – another of the 2019 title winners – joined two years ago, but has a new career outside of football.
On the 33-year-old, McInally said: “Paddy’s graduated from university and he’s going to be a PE teacher so he won’t have the time to get to training and give us the time that’s required.
“Last season especially I thought Paddy had a great season. Defensively he was really good and he’s another good guy and good professional.”
Eadie, 22, has spent two years at Balmoor, while Ferguson, 24, and Hooper, 25, arrived last summer.
McInally believes all three have good futures ahead of them and said: “They will all be a big loss, but I’m sure they’ll do well elsewhere.”
MacKenzie and Layne join up
Peterhead manager Jim McInally is pleased to have signed defender Gary MacKenzie and striker Isaac Layne.
MacKenzie has turned out for Rangers, Dundee Blackpool, MK Dons, Bradford, Doncaster and Notts County during his career and joins the Blue Toon after leaving Premiership St Mirren.
The 34-year-old has also twice been called up to Scotland squads and McInally said: “Gary speaks for himself really in terms of his ability. He’s been in Scotland squads.
“Hopefully he can help us along a bit with his experience and help our younger defenders.
“He’s got a big role to play in more ways than one.”
Layne joins the Buchan outfit after hitting nine goals for fellow League One side Dumbarton last term.
The 25-year-old Englishman has also played for Stranraer, Brechin City, Alloa and Stirling Albion.
McInally added: “He’s always been hard work to play against because of his strength and power, he’s got that in abundance.
“He’s still improving and we saw that last season.
“He’s different to strikers we’ve had before and I felt we needed his attributes.”