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Posted: Wednesday December 28, 2011 9:57PM ; Updated: Wednesday December 28, 2011 9:57PM

U.S. women's hockey pioneer Ruggiero retires

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Four-time U.S. Olympic women's hockey player Angela Ruggiero has announced her retirement.

The 31-year-old Ruggiero made her announcement Wednesday after 16 years with the U.S. women's national team.

Ruggiero, from Simi Valley, Calif., was a defenseman on each of the four American women's Olympic hockey teams, scoring 208 points as the team's most physical player. She appeared in a record 256 games for USA Hockey.

Ruggiero won one of the sport's first Olympic gold medals in 1998, followed by two silver medals and a bronze. She also played briefly alongside her brother in an American men's minor league.

The Harvard graduate became a member of the International Olympic Committee as an athlete representative last year.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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