Salo retires from hockey due to hip injuries

Former Edmonton Oiler netminder Tommy Salo is retiring from hockey due to chronic hip pain.

Former Edmonton Oilers goaltender Tommy Salo announced his retirement from hockey on Thursday.

Salo played for 10 seasons in the NHL and also played in three Olympic Games, winning gold with Sweden in 1994.

The 34-year-old said he decided to quit because of chronic hip pain.

"That's something that's followed me practically throughout my whole career, and something I've learned to live with," Salo told reporters in Ornskoldsvik, where he played for MoDo of the Swedish Elite League this past season.

"But the problems and the pains haven't exactly gotten better with time."

Salo posted a 210-225-73 record over 526 NHL games with the New York Islanders, Oilers and Colorado Avalanche.

The five-foot-11-inch netminder played a hefty 30,436 minutes over his 10-year career, sporting a 2.55 goals-against average along with 37 shutouts.

Salo also played in the NHL All-Star Game in 2000 and 2001.

Salo played in three Winter Olympic Games for Sweden – 1994 in Lillehammer, 1998 in Nagano and 2002 in Salt Lake City.

Canadian hockey fans remember all too well Salo's performance in the gold-medal game in Lillehammer, Norway. There, Salo earned national hero status when Sweden beat Canada in a penalty shootout when he made a kick save on Paul Kariya's last penalty shot.

Eight years later, Salo's performance was quite the opposite.

In a quarter-final match against Belarus, the goaltender misjudged a floppy slapshot from mid-ice, which bounced off his shoulder and into the net, handing underdog Belarus a 4-3 win.

The mistake haunted Salo for the remainder of his career. He struggled with his confidence after the Olympics and was emotionally affected by constant criticism by the Swedish media.

Salo and members of his family even received threats from over-exuberant fans.

Salo had one year remaining on his contract with MoDo, but said the pain in his hips became too much and his love of the game began to dwindle.

"It's been a fantastic time," Salo said. "I only have positive memories."

"I no longer have the right motivation," he added.

with files from Canadian Press