Photo courtesy of Olympic.ca.
On May 26t, during the men’s World Championships in Bratislava, Slovakia, Hayley Wickenheiser will be the fourth woman to be inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame.
After retiring in 2016, Wickenheiser has had an incredible 22-year IIHF career that started at the young age of 12 when she played for the U18 Team Alberta at the Canada Winter Games. Not only did she compete against girls six years her senior, she was named the finals MVP — one of the first of a long list of accomplishments.
Wickenheiser started playing for Team Canada at the age of 15, and since then has cemented herself as a true superstar. Not only was she the captain from 2006-2013, Wickenheiser’s four Olympic golds contribute to her 13 total medals – more than any other women. She was also named Olympic MVP twice in her career. Who holds the record for all-time leader in scoring for the Olympics? Hayley again, with 51 points in 26 games. She also holds the same record for the women’s World Championships with a stunning 86 points in 61 games. In fact, with 168 goals and 211 assists in 276 games, she is Canada’s all-time leading scorer. Her five winter Olympic appearances are unmatched by any other athlete.
Aside from Wickenheiser’s extensive Olympic success, she had also won seven World Championships, an NWHL Championship, three WWHL titles, one CIS National Championship, and a Clarkson Cup with the Calgary Inferno. She was also the first woman to ever score in a men’s professional league during her time in Finland.
Not only has Hayley had a huge impact during her playing career, her success off the ice cannot be ignored. In 2010, she was named the IIHF’s lead player ambassador for women’s hockey and has changed the game for so many young girls. Wickenheiser has traveled the globe to promote gender equality in hockey, and even has her own annual hockey festival called Wickfest.
She was named to the IOC’s athletic commission in 2014, and just this past summer was making headlines when the Toronto Maples Leafs hired her as their new assistant director of player development.
30 years ago, there was no women’s team in Calgary for Wickenheiser to play on. However, she still became one of the most decorated athletes of all time and has significantly contributed to the development of the game on and off the ice. You simply cannot look at the growing success of women’s hockey today and not feel gratitude towards Hayley Wickenheiser.