Olympic Athletes >> Hayley Wickenheiser

Ice Hockey

Hayley Wickenheiser

Age

35

Date of Birth

Aug. 12, 1978

Highlights

For as long as women have been playing Olympic ice hockey, Wickenheiser has been in the mix. Not only has she played in every Olympic tournament since 1998, making her a five-time Winter Olympian, she also played for the Canadian Olympic softball team in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Wickenheiser is the first woman to play full-time professional hockey in a position other than goalie. A forward, she made her international debut at age 15, winning the first of her six World Championships gold medals. At the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Wickenheiser took home the silver when Canada lost to its arch-rival, the United States, 3-1. Canada gained revenge in 2002 with a 3-2 victory over the U.S. in Salt Lake City. Wickenheiser was Canadas leading scorer and was voted best attacker. Four years later in Turin, Canada defeated Sweden 4-1 in the final, with Wickenheiser again named best attacker and also tournament MVP. As underdogs in 2010, the Canadians clashed with the U.S. in the gold-medal game, winning 2-0. "We commit. We work hard," Wickenheiser said. "It's up to the rest of the world to catch up. This is not as easy as it looks, trust me."

Runup

Wickenheiser is considered the greatest female ice hockey player in the world and at age 35 does not seem to be slowing down. She led Canada to the gold medal at the 2012 World Championships, defeating the U.S. 5-4 in overtime. Wickenheiser was the top Canadian scorer in the tournament with 10 points. In 2013, the U.S. regained the world title by beating Canada. This season the bitter rivals squared off in seven pre-Olympic games, with Canada winning the first three, including a 4-2 game in the Four Nations Cup, and the U.S. the final four. Two of the games included brawls. Coach Dan Church resigned Dec. 12, hours before the teams met in Calgary, Alberta, saying he felt others lacked confidence in his ability to lead Canada to its fourth straight gold medal. Canada lost that game 5-1. On Dec. 17, coach Kevin Dineen took over the Canadian team, which lost three more contests to the U.S. "Were getting more comfortable with how its going to go," said Wickenheiser. At the Olympics, Canada will meet the U.S. again in pool play, along with Switzerland and Finland. Going into Sochi, Wickenheiser has scored a record 16 goals in Olympic play.

Prediction

With the coaching turnover, Team Canada is still a medal hopeful, but Team USA has the gold-medal edge after four straight wins in the pre-Olympic series.

Things To Know

  • Wickenheiser is running for election to the International Olympic Committee. Nine athletes are vying for two places on the IOC Athletes Commission. All Winter Olympians will be able to vote in Sochi.
  • She was selected to take the athletes Olympic Oath at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
  • Wickenheiser was one of the first two female athletes to be featured as a playable character in a professional sports league video game. Players of EA Sports NHL 13 had the option of choosing Wickenheiser or veteran American defenseman Angela Ruggiero as avatars.

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