Cassie Campbell calls it quits

Forward Cassie Campbell, winner of eight combined world and Olympic gold medals, announced her retirement from the Canadian women's hockey team on Wednesday.

Cassie Campbell's gold-medal count with the Canadian women's hockey team will hold at eight.

The 32-year-old forward retired from the squadWednesday, six months after capturing a gold medal at the Torino Winter Olympics.

"While it is difficult for me to retire from the game that has given me such pleasure," she said, "I can now look back with great fondness on my time with the national team and my years playing hockey."

Campbell, who had hinted at retirement this past July, is the lone Canadian hockey player — male or female — to captain a national team to two Olympic golds. Four years ago, shehelped Canada defeat the United Statesin Salt Lake City.

Campbell also earned six world titles in her 157-game career with the national club.

Captain of the Canadian team since the 2001-02 season, she finished with32 goals and 68 assists for100 points overall.

The Brampton, Ont., native will now turn to another love — sports broadcasting — after previously working as a colour commentator on numerous TV and radio hockey broadcasts.

Campbell was not only one of the quickest skaters on the national team, but one of the most successful and recognizable players in women's ice hockey history.

The five-foot-seven Calgary resident wears the captain's "C" for the Calgary X-Treme of the Western Women's Hockey League and also had a stint with the Toronto Aeros of the National Women's Hockey League.

Campbell broke in with the national team in 1994 as a defenceman and was named an all-star at the 1997 world championship before moving to forward the following season.

"Cassie Campbell's contributions to women's hockey go far beyond her tremendous success with the national women's team," Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson said.

"Cassie has been and will continue to be an ambassador for the women's game, as well as a role model and hero to thousands of young girls playing hockey in Canada."

Fifty-sevenplayers, including those from the Olympic roster — minus Campbell and a pregnant Becky Kellar — have been invited to attend an evaluation camp this Saturday in Kenora, Ont.

Canadian coach Melody Davidson will form a roster of players who will compete at the Four Nations Cup in Kitchener, Ont., in November.

The 2007 world championshipisscheduled for April in Winnipeg.

With files from the Canadian Press