Ice hockey-Decorated American forward Decker announces retirement

(Reuters) – American forward Brianna Decker announced her retirement on Thursday after a highly-decorated career during which the three-time Olympian established herself as one of the game’s best female players.

The 31-year-old Wisconsin native, an Olympic gold medallist and six-time world champion, was a steady presence with the U.S. team and earned a reputation as a tenacious forward and reliable playmaker.

She is a twice NWHL Most Valuable Player with the Boston Pride, who she helped win the league’s inaugural Isobel Cup in 2015-16.

In the final game of her career, Decker was left screaming in pain as she broke her leg 10 minutes into the United States’ opening game at the 2022 Beijing Olympics after a collision with an opponent behind the net.

Decker, who currently serves as a girls prep associate head coach and special advisor to the Shattuck-St Mary’s Hockey Program, said being a member of the national team was the “honor of a lifetime.”

“Playing hockey first started as a way to keep up with my brothers, but turned into my life’s passion,” said Decker.

“I’m proud to have taken the ice with so many incredible team mates and thank them, my family and friends for their unwavering support throughout the years.”

Decker recorded 170 points in 147 games representing the United States. She is also third in U.S. history for career points (68) at the Women’s World Championship and fourth all-time in assists (40).

“Brianna was a difference-maker every time she stepped on the ice and won at every level of the game,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey.

“While we’ll miss watching her play, we look forward to her continued involvement in the sport and wish her the very best in the next chapter of life.”

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Ken Ferris)