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Deep Blue Sea: Caroline Oullette announces retirement

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BANGKOK, THAILAND - NOVEMBER 07: Best Female Team of Sochi 2014 award winner for Team Canada Ice Hockey, Caroline Ouellette accepts the award during 1st ANOC Gala awards at Bangkok ANOC 2014 on November 7, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo by Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images

In a heartfelt letter to her daughter, Caroline Oullette tells her of her career and how she came to fall in love with the sport of hockey.

“I cannot explain it, but I know that I’ve always loved hockey,” she wrote. “Liv, I hope you find your way to fall in love with something the way I fell for this sport. Can you believe that I almost did not play? Back then, joining a hockey team was not a thing girls did.”

After 16 seasons, four Clarkson Cups, four Olympic gold medals, six World Championship gold medals and six silver medals; after being the Canadian Women’s Hockey League’s all-time leading scorer and the only player to tally 300 goals, Oullette is stepping away from playing hockey.

As anyone who has been in the sport will say, she can’t walk away entirely. “I am just shifting my focus to helping and mentoring others so they can also experience some of the joy [hockey] gave to me,” she explained.

The 39-year-old Oullette is married to Julie Chu, her former teammate and national team rival (Oullette plays for Team Canada, while Chu is with the US Women’s National Team). The pair announced the birth of their daughter Liv last November, where it was also revealed that Oullette had won a Clarkson Cup while pregnant.

“This team has always felt like family to me and I could not wait to tell them, a few weeks later, that we had won with too many players on the ice,” she joked in her letter.

The goal now is to focus on coaching the Concordia Stingers with Chu, coaching Team Canada at the 4 Nations Cup, coaching with Les Canadiennes and continuing to promote the growth of women’s hockey. She sounds excited for that next chapter.

“Today, I am turning the page on my playing career, but surprisingly, I am fully at peace with it. I am thrilled with what is ahead for me as a mom and coach.”

Despite having two of the greatest players of all-time as her moms, Liv is under no pressure to love this sport, too. Oullette offered her this final piece of wisdom:

“Liv, if you do happen to like hockey, it would be cool, but really, no pressure. I want you to remember this important advice: “We all play for Canada!” I truly hope your family inspires you to feel that nothing can stop you in whatever you choose to devote yourself to. My greatest wish is that you will feel confident, strong, driven, and that you will always be kind to others. Each day by your side, Liv, is better and better.”

Congratulations on an incredible career. Read the full letter below (and have tissues ready!).

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