Like many Canadians, Hayley was introduced to hockey at an early age, and she began playing the sport when she was five years old. By the age of 15, her prowess on the ice was impressive, and she was chosen for the Canadian Women’s National Team. From there she led the squad to win one silver medal and six gold medals at the Ice Hockey Women’s World Championships. While a member of this outstanding squad, Hayley also excelled in softball, receiving awards like “All Canadian Shortstop” and “Top Batter.”
For the next few years Hayley continued to perform well in hockey and softball. She made her Olympic debut in 1998 at Nagano as a member of Team Canada, where she and her teammates won the silver medal. Two years later when she was a member of Canada’s National Softball Team in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, she became the second woman ever to compete in both the Summer and Winter Olympics, and she was the first woman to do so in team sports. Hayley is also famous for being the first woman to score a goal while playing in a men’s professional league in 2003.
In the years to come, Hayley’s success in competition would only grow, as would the public’s recognition of her contribution to the sport. She and her teammates on Team Canada’s women’s hockey team won the gold medal at the 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympic Games. She has won many more gold and silver medals in Championships and World Cups for hockey. For a full list of her athletic accomplishments, check out the timeline on her website.
SERVICE TO THE WORLD
The kind of dedication and energy it takes to become an Olympian – especially one as successful as Hayley Wickenheiser – is found in extraordinary individuals. Hayley’s passion for sport reaches beyond the rink or ball field and into opportunities to serve the world at large. Over the years Hayley has channeled this energy and drive into volunteering with many sports-based service organizations and even started initiatives of her own.
- Wick Fest – The Wickenheiser Female World Hockey Festival is a weekend celebrating women in hockey. Young female hockey players gather for several days of competition, skills camps, clinics, and workshops on topics like sports psychology, circuit training, and nutrition.
- Classroom Champions – Through Classroom Champions, Hayley has been able to connect with students from her hometown of Shaunavon, Saskatchewan and develop a relationship with them via video lessons and video chat. This program “motivates students to recognize their potential, set goals and dream big, while educating them in the practical use of communications technology.”
- KidSport – As a member of Team KidSport, Hayley reaches out to youth in Canada with the vision “SO ALL KIDS CAN PLAY!” This organization is all about giving youth from all backgrounds the opportunity to play sport and reap the benefits of doing so.
- Right to Play – This organization understands the importance of children experiencing play and sport and seeks to bring those opportunities to youth in impoverished, underserved areas of the world.
- Because I Am a Girl – Hayley’s hockey career allows her to connect with girls and women across Canada. She believes self-confidence and inner strength find outer expression when girls are empowered through sport.
- Clean Air Champions – This Canada-based charity educates Canadians “on the importance of air quality and its connections to health.” Athletes represent the organization to “educate and inspire people to adopt practices and lifestyles that improve both environmental and personal health.”
- Spread the Net – Spread the Net is a part of Plan Canada and delivers malaria-preventing mosquito nets to families in Africa. Since 2007 more than 7.2 million people in Africa have been protected by nets from Spread the Net.
- IOC Athletes’ Commission – The Commission, which meets once or twice a year, serves as a consultative body and is the link between active athletes and the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The Commission represents athletes within the Olympic Movement and also upholds the rights and obligations of the athletes.
As Hayley continues studying to become a doctor, we can only imagine how her dedication and drive will guide her future endeavors to bring positive change to those both near and far from her. Thank you to Dale Ross, Principal of Shaunavon Public School for nominating Hayley!