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Peter Smith, left centre, who was head coach in 2008 when Canada claimed silver at the world championship, is seen speaking with players during opening day of Canadian women's hockey team camp in Calgary on Jan. 21, 2008. Smith has stepped down as head coach of McGill’s women’s hockey team.

Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

Peter Smith has stepped down as head coach of McGill’s women’s hockey team after guiding the squad to four national university championships.

The 67-year-old is one of three coaches to surpass 500 wins in women’s hockey with 534, alongside current University of Alberta head coach Howie Draper (613) and former Concordia coach Les Lawton (626).

“This has been an emotional time and a difficult decision for me,” Smith said Wednesday in a statement from McGill. “Coaching the Martlets these past 21 years has been an incredible journey and a huge part of my life.

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“Winning games and championships have been exciting, but more rewarding, has been witnessing the growth and development of these young women as players, teammates, leaders and most importantly, as people. The relationships built will last a lifetime.”

The Martlets earned U Sports women’s hockey titles in 2008, 2009, 2011, 2014. Smith was named women’s hockey coach of the year in 2003, 2008 and 2012.

His owns a career winning percentage of .671 behind McGill’s bench.

“Peter’s time as coach of Martlet hockey has been truly impressive,” said McGill interim athletics and recreation director Philip Quintal.

“His outstanding contributions to our varsity program and the student-athlete experience can never be adequately recognized.”

Smith was an assistant coach to Melody Davidson on Canadian teams that won Olympic gold medals in both 2006 and 2010.

He was head coach in 2008 when Canada claimed silver at the world championship.

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Smith will continue to work in McGill sports as a mentor and resource person for the school’s varsity coaches.

“He will offer insight and guidance in areas that include recruiting, team-building, academic prowess, game-day management, media training and alumni relations,” Quintal said.

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