DENVER (Reuters) - Peter Forsberg, who was forced to bring his brilliant National Hockey League career to a premature end four seasons ago because of foot problems, has linked up with the Colorado Avalanche.

"I need to see where I am physically and practicing with NHL players is the best way to find that out," Forsberg said in a statement released by Colorado on Friday.

The 37-year-old has not played in the NHL since the 2007-08 season but he remains a hockey hero to millions of Swedes and carried his country's flag at the opening ceremony for last year's Vancouver Olympics.

After Forsberg scored the decisive goal in a shootout against Canada in the gold medal final of the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics, the moment was immortalized on a postage stamp.

He was back leading Sweden to gold in 2006 at Turin but, by then, chronic foot problems had already begun to take their toll on the big forward who has since been pursued by several NHL teams about a comeback.

Forsberg played 13 seasons in the NHL for the Quebec Nordiques, the Avalanche, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Nashville Predators, scoring 249 career goals.

"Of course I would love to play again in the NHL," Forsberg said during the 2010 Winter Games. "I have been battling this injury for a long time."

(Writing by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Rex Gowar; To comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)