Five-time Olympic medalist, Hayley Wickenheiser is regarded as one of the best female hockey players in the world with an uncompromised determination and dedication to her sport. However, it’s not just her lethal slapshot that is respected by her teammates, fans and peers; Hayley is also an award winner, community leader, mentor, history-maker and an accomplished businesswoman.
It all started at age 15 in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan when Hayley was chosen for the Canadian Women’s National Team. She has since led the squad to six gold and one silver medal at the Women’s World Hockey Championships. As an Olympian, she earned a silver medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics and four Olympic gold medals in 2002, 2006, 2010 and most recently at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. For the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Hayley was selected to be the flag bearer for the Canadian Olympic team in the Opening Ceremonies. During those same Olympics it was announced that she had been elected to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC). Athletes Commission. Accompanying all that hardware, Hayley was one of the top point leaders for the Sochi Tournament. She was named the tournaments’ most valuable player in the 2002 and 2006 victorious Olympic runs as well as in numerous Esso Women’s Hockey Championships.
In January 2003, Hayley made hockey history when she became the first female hockey player to notch a point in a men’s professional game with the Kirkkonummen Salamat of the Finnish second division. Wickenheiser also played in Eskilstuna, Sweden with a men’s professional division-one hockey team for the 08-09 season.
Hayley Wickenheiser has proven to be an elite athlete time and time again. In 2008, Sports Illustrated named her number 20 of the Top 25 Toughest Athletes in the World. She is also a two-time finalist for the Women’s Sports Foundation Team Athlete of The Year and was recently named, for the second time, among the Globe and Mail’s “Power 50” influencers in sport. Most recently, QMI Agency name Hayley among the top 10 “Greatest Female Athletes in the History of Sports.”
Off the ice, Hayley’s achievements include: Sports Illustrated number 20 of 25 Toughest Athletes in the World, a two-time finalist for the Women’s Sports Foundation Team Athlete of The Year, twice named among the Globe and Mail’s “Power 50” influencers in sport, and named among QMI Agency’s top 10 “Greatest Female Athletes in the History of Sports.”
In the fall of 2011, Hayley was bestowed one the country’s highest civilian honours when she was amongst 50 notable Canadians appointed to the Order of Canada “for her achievements as an athlete and for her contributions to the growth of women’s hockey.” Most recently, she was inducted to Canada’s Walk of Fame.
Along with hockey, Wickenheiser has mastered a number of sports. An elite softball player, she participated in the 2000 Summer Olympics as a member of Team Canada and worked as a Softball Analyst with CBC’s coverage of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.
Wickenheiser’s passion for sport is matched by her desire to give back to the community in her work with organizations such as JumpStart, KidSport, Project North, Right to Play , Ovarian Cancer Canada and many others. In 2007, she travelled to Rwanda with a team of Canadian Olympic athletes for Right to Play, an athlete-driven, global organization using the transformative power of play to educate and empower children and youth. In 2011, she returned to Africa on a similar goodwill mission to Ghana.
Putting her pursuit of a BSc at the University of Calgary to good use, Hayley has led numerous projects with the goal of raising the profile of women’s hockey around the world. She is constantly working to provide mentoring opportunities for young athletes including her legacy project – The Wickenheiser World Female Hockey Festival (www.wickfest.com).
Hayley was born in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan and is a proud mom to her teenaged son Noah. She is currently pursing a career in medicine.
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Follow Hayley @ www.facebook.com/22wick or on Twitter @wick_22