Thursday, April 25, 2013
Three-time Olympic gold medallist Cherie Piper has announced her retirement from the Canadian women's hockey team.
The 31-year-old forward from Toronto has not played for Canada since the 2011 world championship as she finished her education degree. She will not be in consideration for Team Canada at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. She will also retire from the Brampton Thunder of the Canadian Women's Hockey League at the end of the 2013 season
"I've been thinking about it for a little while now," Piper told The Canadian Press. "This season confirmed it for me. I still love the game, but your body hurts a little more at the end of weekend games and I've had a lot of little injuries over the last few years. I've given a large portion of my life to the sport. It's time to be active in the sport in another way and not necessarily playing."
Piper won Olympic gold in 2002, 2006 and 2010. Winning gold on home ice in Vancouver will forever be her career highlight.
"The atmosphere and the energy in that building was like having an extra person on the ice," Piper recalled. "To have the opportunity as an Olympian to play in your own country, there's just nothing better than that."
In 111 career games with Team Canada Piper scored 40 goals and 78 assists over 12 seasons.
Described as a powerful skater and smart playmaker, she debuted in the Olympics in 2002 replacing veteran Nancy Drolet. Piper was hitting her stride in 2006 when she was second in team scoring behind Hayley Wickenheiser at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, with seven goals and eight assists in just five games.
But the years between Turin and Vancouver were difficult for Piper, as she suffered a major knee injury playing college hockey that kept her out of the 2007 world championship. Then her father Alan died of a heart attack in 2008. She was actually left off the world championship team in 2009, but reclaimed her spot in the lineup for the 2010 Winter Games.
Piper will be teaching in the Toronto area while continuing to work with young players at the Markham Stouffville Stars Girls Hockey Association.