yes you have to remove it because its attached to the throwout bearing, which is clipped into the pressure plate. i suppose you can do it caveman stlye and pull that bitch out, but you will damage you throw out bearing, and pressure plate (which you should be replacing any ways) and possibly bend you cluctch release fork.
If you get the trans out you still have to get the wrist pin out to put the trans back in
Dom Tuned 2003 WRX Wagon
If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing