One of the game’s great international players and a legend of women’s hockey has decided to call it a career.
On Friday evening, Hayley Wickenheiser, who has an international and professional career spanning more than two decades, announced that she has played her final game for Team Canada. The 38-year-old made the announcement on Twitter, saying that it has been “the greatest honor” of her life to play for Team Canada throughout her career. Wickenheiser told the Canadian Press’ Donna Spencer that the decision comes as she gets set to enter into medical school.
Wickenheiser’s career has been nothing short of remarkable. Over the course of her 276-game career, she netted 168 goals and 379 points and stands as Canada’s all-time leading scorer. Wickenheiser won four consecutive gold medals at the Olympics, from 2002 in Salt Lake City to 2014 in Sochi, and captured seven World Championship titles, her first coming in 1994 and final one in 2007. She also added another seven silver medals to her totals along the way.
One of her best international performances for the longtime Canadian captain came at the 2002 Olympics. En route to Canada’s first Olympic gold in women’s hockey, Wickenheiser scored seven goals and 10 points in five games and landing the tournament’s MVP award. Her most impressive performance, however, came at the Turin Olympics in 2006 when she netted five goals and a mind-blowing 17 points in five games, taking home gold and a second-straight MVP award.
Over her entire Olympic career, Wickenheiser scored 18 goals, 51 points and netted nearly two points per game. She’s the tournament’s all-time leading scorer.
Wickenheiser has plied her trade with the CIS’ University of Calgary Dinos and played her final CWHL season with the CWHL’s Calgary Inferno. During her four year tenure with the Dinos, playing against a number of players nearly half her age, Wickenheiser posted an incredible 55 goals and 134 points in 68 games. In the CWHL, she notched three goals and 16 points in 23 games during the 2015-16 season.
Wickenheiser’s impact in the women’s game goes beyond what she did on the ice against other women, however. She broke barriers during her career, becoming the first women’s player in history to suit up in the Finnish third league in 2002-03. During her time with Salamat, she scored one goal and four points in 12 games before netting an additional goal and seven points in 11 total post-season contests. Her play helped Salamat earn a division promotion, and in 2003-04, she stuck with the team and became the first woman to compete in the Finnish second league.
She again tried her hand at the men’s game in 2008-09 when she suited up for 21 games with Sweden’s Linden Hockey. She scored one goal and three points during her stay in the Swedish league.
With everything she has accomplished over the course of her career, and with the impact she has had on the women’s game as a star and role model, the next stop for Wickenheiser is undoubtedly the Hockey Hall of Fame. Four women are currently enshrined in the Hall, and Wickenheiser is sure to join Angela Ruggiero, Geraldine Heaney, Cammi Granato and Angela James in short order.
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