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Ice Hockey - 26. April 2013.

Olympian Karen Thatcher Retires

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Olympian Karen Thatcher (Blaine, Wash.) officially announced her retirement from the U.S. Women’s National Team Program today.

Thatcher enjoyed a 10-year career with USA Hockey and earned a silver medal as a member of Team USA at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia.

"Karen has been a valuable member of our Women's National Team Program since 2002 and will always be recognized for the passion she brought to the rink every day and the integrity in the way she played the game,” said Reagan Carey, director of women’s hockey for USA Hockey. “She represented the United States for 10 years and made a significant contribution to the progression of the sport during that time."

Her 70-game career included two appearances in the International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championship where she helped the United States capture a pair of gold medals (2008, 2009). She was also named to the team in 2007 but missed the tournament due to injury.

Thatcher also helped the U.S claim first place in the Four Nations Cup on three occasions (2008, 2011, 2012) as well as three second-place finishes at the event (2006, 2007, 2009).

Additionally, Thatcher skated in three Under-22 Series (2002, 2003, 2004) and was a member of the 2009-10 U.S. Women’s National Team during the Qwest Tour and the 2008-09 U.S Women’s Select Team.

"Karen has been a selfless member of the USA Hockey family," said Katey Stone, head coach of the U.S. Women's National Team. "She has invested everything into her personal development and her team's success. We wish her only the very best in the next stage of her life."

Thatcher also participated in seven USA Hockey Women's National Festivals between 2003 and 2012 (2003-04, 2007-09, and 2011-12).

During her career in a U.S. uniform, Thatcher scored 16 goals and contributed 15 assists for 31 points.

"It's incredibly difficult to step away from playing the game you love but I do so having experienced a lifetime of unparalleled memories," said Thatcher. "Pulling on a USA-emblazoned jersey and taking the ice with your teammates is an indescribable feeling that I will cherish forever. I'm honored and humbled to have been a part of this program for so long and to be able to have made so many lasting friendships."

Thatcher played four years of college hockey, including three seasons at Providence College (2003-06) following her freshman year at Brown University (2002-03). She helped Providence to the Hockey East championship in consecutive seasons (2003-05) and was as an RBK All-America Second Team selection her senior season (2005-06). Thatcher was a two-time Hockey East First Team All-Star (2005, 2006) and an ECACH All-Rookie Team member in 2002-03. She was a three-time winner of the Hockey East Sportsmanship Award (2004-06), was named Hockey East Co-Player of the Year in 2005, and was recognized on the Hockey East All-Tournament Team in 2003-04. In 2005-06, she received the Sarah Devens Award, presented to the player who best demonstrates leadership and commitment both on and off the ice. She was also a Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award Top-10 Finalist in 2006.

Upon concluding her college career in 2006, she embarked on a six-year professional playing career including four seasons in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (with the Vaughn Flames in 2007-08 and the Boston Blades 2010-13) and two years in the Western Women’s Hockey League (with the BC Breakers in 2006-07 and the Minnesota Whitecaps in 2008-09).
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