International debut at 15
In 1994, Hayley Wickenheiser made her international debut playing for Canada at the World Ice Hockey Championships. At only 15, she won her first international medal. Since then, she has accumulated team selections, goals and honours: selected over 200 times, winning over 300 points in international competitions (goals and decisive passes), and being six-time world champion and three-time Olympic champion are among her most prestigious titles.
The best player in the world began with a silver medal
Hayley’s Olympic debut was in 1998 in Nagano. Women’s ice hockey was being included in the Olympic programme for the first time. This participation concluded with a silver medal, as Canada lost in the final against the USA, 3 goals to 1.
In 2002, the Canadian team took its revenge in Salt Lake City in front of an American crowd - Hayley and her team mates won 3-2 and took the Olympic title against the USA. Hayley ended up being the best scorer on her team and was voted best attacker. She was at the top of her game and would not be coming down any time soon...
In Turin in 2006, the hockey world once again expected a USA-Canada final. The two teams finished at the top of their respective groups. But in a surprise twist, it was the Swedish team who reached the final, beating the USA. The Canadians beat the Scandinavians 4-1 – bagging a second Olympic title for Hayley Wickenheiser, who for the second time was named best attacker, but also best player of the tournament.
Gold at home
The USA had won the two previous World Championship finals in 2008 and 2009 against these same Canadians. In 2010, at home at the Vancouver Games, the players wearing the maple leaf shirts were therefore not the favourites for the final - another USA-Canada clash. Nonetheless, thanks to two goals by attacker Marie-Philip Poulin in the first period of a very tight final, captain Wickenheiser, again the best passer of the tournament, added a third gold medal to her collection.
Four Winter and one Summer Games
The remarkable career of the woman from Shaunavon, Saskatchewan, also includes her participation in the Summer Olympic Games! Indeed, at the Sydney Games in 2000, she was one of the members of the Canadian softball team - proof if it were needed of her talent and passion for sport.