5 Reasons Why Hayley Wickenheiser Is A Canadian Treasure

The hockey star just became the seventh woman inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Hayley Wickenheiser hoists the Canadian flag after winning Gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. 
Hayley Wickenheiser hoists the Canadian flag after winning Gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. 

Canadian women’s hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser is being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, the seventh woman ever to do so. It’s a fitting honour for one of the greatest Canadian athletes of all-time.

Wickenhesier was a member of the Canada women’s national team for 23 years, and she’s literally done it all. She’s won Olympic gold medals, she’s won world championships and she’s on Canada’s Walk of Fame.

Here are five more reasons Hayley Wickenheiser is a Canadian treasure.

1. The sports complex in her hometown is named after her

The welcome sign for the town of Shaunavon, Sask.
The welcome sign for the town of Shaunavon, Sask.

Wickenheiser grew up in the tiny town of Shaunavon, Sask., where she played Timbits hockey as a kid and learned to skate on an outdoor rink. To celebrate her accomplishments on the world stage, the town named its recreation centre after her in 2006. The Crescent Pointe Wickenheiser Centre is now where the future Hayley Wickenheisers of the world can learn to skate.

2. She has a bunch of degrees

She graduated with a Bachelor of Kinesiology from the University of Calgary (U of C) in 2013, a Master of Science in 2016 and enrolled in medical school in 2017. Wickenhesier also has accumulated quite the mantle of honourary degrees, too, including honours from the U of C, University of Saskatchewan, University of British Columbia, Memorial University and Ryerson University. That’s a lot of degrees!

3. She was also an Olympic softball player

A young Hayley Wickenheiser fields a ball for Team Canada in 2000. 
A young Hayley Wickenheiser fields a ball for Team Canada in 2000. 

Wickenheiser competed as a shortstop for Team Canada at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. At the time, she was only the second Canadian female athlete to compete at both the Summer and Winter Games. Despite Canada winning just one game during the tournament, she led the team in batting average. She also served as a softball analyst during coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.

4. She’s in a video game

Hayley Wickenheiser pictured promoting her appearance in "NHL 13."
Hayley Wickenheiser pictured promoting her appearance in "NHL 13."

In 2012, Wickenhesier became one of the first two women featured in the popular NHL video game series. Alongside American Angela Ruggiero, Wickenheiser appeared as a playable character for any team.

5. She was the first woman to score a goal in a men’s professional league

Hayley Wickenheiser holds up her jersey Kirkkonummen Salamat in 2003. 
Hayley Wickenheiser holds up her jersey Kirkkonummen Salamat in 2003. 

In 2003, Wickenheiser went to Finland to play hockey professionally for Kirkkonummen Salamat in the second division of the Finnish Elite League. She scored her first goal three weeks after debuting, and became the first woman ever to score a goal in a men’s professional league — and there were more where that came from.

BONUS (because she’s just that great): She’s helping the next generation

Hayley Wickenheiser signs autographs after returning from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Hayley Wickenheiser signs autographs after returning from the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

She also helps support the future of not only women’s hockey, but sports overall. Wickenhesier’s been involved in organizations that promote sport across Canada and the world including Right to Play and Kidsport. She also founded the Wickenheiser International Women’s Hockey Festival in Burnaby, B.C. She’s currently the assistant director of player development with the Toronto Maple Leafs, where she monitors Leafs prospects in the Western Hockey League.

Correction: A previous version of this article identified Hayley Wickenheiser as the sixth woman inducted into the Hall of Fame. She is actually the seventh.

Watch: Hayley Wickenheiser Joins Toronto Maple Leafs Front Office