Four-time Olympic Gold 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. Accompanying all that hardware, Hayley was also named the tournaments’ most valuable player in the 2002 and 2006 victorious Olympic runs as well as in numerous Esso Women’s Hockey Championships.
Named Sports Illustrated Top 20 “Toughest Athletes in the World” in 2008, Hayley Wickenheiser proves herself as an elite athlete time and time again. 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.”
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.”
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.
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.
Hayley’s passion for sport is paralleled by her drive to give back to the community in several ways, particularly to organizations with a commitment to youth such as KidSport, Right To Play, Clean Air Champions and Spread The Net. In May 2007, Hayley traveled to Rwanda with a team of Canadian Olympic athletes for Right to Play, an athlete-driven humanitarian organization and in 2011 she returned to Africa, taking her son on a similar good-will mission to Ghana.
Putting her BSc from 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 International Women’s Hockey Festival.
In 2013, Hayley graduated from the University of Calgary with a BSc in Kinesiology. Her next ambition is to attend medical school and become a doctor. On top of everything else she does, Hayley is a very proud mom to 13-year-old son, Noah.
Wickenheiser explains what it was like to grow up playing with the boys and later playing men’s professional hockey overseas.
What does a successful team need and how did Team Canada succeed on the World Stage?
Wickenheiser shares with her audience the importance of always look for improvements or opportunities for change within your life.
Success comes from going above – and beyond – what others normally do.