Former Olympic curling champion Kevin Martin will be retiring from playing the sport.

The Edmontonian said he will be heading over to become a broadcast analyst for Sportsnet but those who know him well claim he will always have his hand in the game.

“I think that what he will do is make an impact on the game as a broadcaster, as an organizer and I know that he will give back his know-how and his experience whenever we ask,” friend and University of Alberta curling coach, Rob Krepps said.

“I know that it was very important to him to leave at or near the top of the game and that is exactly what he has done.”

A four-time Brier champion, Martin won Olympic gold in Vancouver in 2010, and won the World Curling Championship in 2008.

"It has been an amazing run," Martin said in a statement. "I am closing the chapter on my playing career in the sport of curling that has been so good to me."

“Anyone who has ever played against him, he has made them better,” curler Cathy King said.

She added that Alberta would still be very competitive in the curling world.

“I don’t think Alberta has anything to worry about. Because of Kevin I think that standard is now at the peak and Alberta curling has always been right up there because of him.”

Skip Brendan Bottcher, who curls with Martin’s son, said he was surprised at the announcement.

“It is a big deal. Sort of the changing of the guard and there are a lot of the older players considering how many more years they want to put into it.”

Bottcher said that Martin gave so much to the sport.

“I think it is monumental the legacy he leaves and he is still growing it too.”

With files from Sarah Richter, The Canadian Press