Extraordinary Hayley Wickenheiser has transformed the phrase “play like a girl.” She oversaw significant change in women’s hockey. Thanks to her efforts, female hockey players now enjoy greater respect.

A Decorated Career

A true hockey enthusiast from the age of five, Hayley Wickenheiser spent most of her childhood playing with boys. Shortly before she went pro, she was named Most Valuable Player at the 1991 Canada Winter Games.

At just 15, Wickenheiser joined Canada’s National Women’s Team. She represented Canada for over two decades. During that time, she won seven World Championships and four gold medals at the Olympics.

Wickenheiser proves that women can not only succeed at hockey — they can demonstrate talent in multiple sports. She made a name for herself in summer sports by scoring a spot on the Canadian softball team during the 2000 Olympics. She boasted the highest batting average on her team.

Despite her forays into softball, Wickenheiser’s first love remains hockey. She ultimately shifted her focus back to the ice and continued to impress fans with her undeniable skill. She earned further praise while playing with the Calgary Dinos and as a pro with men’s teams in Sweden and Finland.

Post-hockey Inspiration

Wickenheiser may have retired from professional hockey, but her journey is just beginning. Currently, she attends medical school at the University of Calgary.

Wickenheiser remains deeply involved in a variety of humanitarian causes. As the Calgary Herald reports, she is especially passionate about keeping young girls off the sidelines. She wants to set fellow female hockey players up to be future leaders.

Wickenheiser has spent a lifetime fighting for female acceptance in hockey. She is proud to say she’s made a difference. She recently told the Toronto Sun, “Any little girl in this country can walk into a hockey rink and no one is going to think twice or look twice. Girls don’t have to go through hell anymore to play hockey.”

Wickenheiser’s many accomplishments cannot be denied. She’s won numerous gold medals and even been named to the Order of Canada. However, she is most proud of making Canada a more hospitable place for female hockey players.

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