The most decorated player in women’s hockey history today announced her retirement from professional hockey, with Hayley Wickenheiser stepping down from the CWHL’s Calgary Inferno and Team Canada, which she joined in 1994 at the age of 15.
Wickenheiser’s accomplishments on the ice are, simply put, astounding. In her illustrious career, Wickenheiser has captured four Olympic Gold (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014) and one Silver (1998) medals, seven World Championship Gold (1994, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2007, 2012) and six Silver (2005, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2016) medals, eleven Nations Cup Gold (1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010) and five Silver (1997, 2003, 2008, 2011, 2012) medals, along with Gold at both the 1995 and 1996 Pacific Rim Championship, capping her career medal haul at 24 Gold and 12 Silver medals, never once having to settle for Bronze.
Away from Team Canada, Wickenheiser collected an impressive collection of accolades as well, capturing a CIS title with the University of Calgary in 2012, and a Clarkson Cup with the Inferno in 2016, inducting her into the unofficial women’s “Triple Gold Club” of hockey. Additionally, Wickenheiser was among the first women to ever play in a professional men’s league, with Salamat of the Finnish league in 2003-04, and is just one of nine Canadians to play in both the Winter and Summer Olympics, playing Softball for Canada at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Wickenheiser was awarded the Order of Canada in 2011 and was inducted to Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2014, and will surely be a first-ballot nominee for the Hockey Hall of Fame, where she would become just the fifth female inductee in history.
In terms of the IHLC, Wickenheiser rode the wave of Canada’s success to capture her first title at the 1994 World Championships, holding it throughout her career, far too numerous to count here. We wish Hayley and her family the very best for her retirement, and hope her future endeavours in medical school does not mean the end of the hockey career of one of Canada’s true athletic icons.