Hayley Wickenheiser

In sport, business, and life, pressure is really a privilege.

Canada’s Opening Ceremony Flag-Bearer at the Sochi Olympic Winter Games

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Hayley Wickenheiser | Canada’s Opening Ceremony Flag-Bearer at the Sochi Olympic Winter Games

Speaker Hayley Wickenheiser was Canada’s official flag-bearer for the Opening Ceremonies of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games, where she won a gold medal as part of the Canadian women’s hockey team. She is regarded as one of the best female hockey players in the world. But that’s not all. She’s also a community leader, mentor to aspiring athletes, a student, and an inspiring businesswoman.

Chosen for the Canadian Women’s National Team at the age of 15, she has since led the squad to six gold medals and three silver medals at the Women’s World Hockey Championships. As an Olympian, she earned a silver medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan and has won a gold medal in four consecutive Olympics, including one at home at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and one at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. At the Sochi Games, she was elected to represent Canada as a member of the International Olympic Committee’s athletes commission. Her book about her experience in Vancouver, Gold Medal Diary: Inside the World’s Greatest Sports Event, profiles what it was like to live through the pressure. If all the hardware wasn’t enough, she was also named the tournament MVP in her victorious Olympic runs in 2002 and 2006, as well as in numerous Esso Women’s Hockey Championships.


“[Gold Medal Diary] is everything a devout follower of Canadian women’s hockey needs to get a taste of Olympic fever. Wickenheiser, arguably the world’s foremost female hockey player, has enough medals, honours and accolades to fill several suitcases, but there’s nothing ‘been there, done that’ about this diary. Wickenheiser’s enthusiasm and commitment come through on every page.”


Wickenheiser has proven to be an elite athlete time and time again. Sports Illustrated recently named her number 20 of the Top 25 Toughest Athletes in the World. She is also a two-time finalist for the Women’s Sports Foundation Team Athlete of The Year. In the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, her performance impressed Team Canada General Manager Bobby Clarke so much, he invited her to participate in the Philadelphia Flyers rookie camp. She made hockey history in January 2003 when she became the first female hockey player to notch a point in a men’s professional game with the Kirkkonummen Salamat of the Finnish second division. Wickenheiser also played in Eskilstuna, Sweden with a men’s professional division-one hockey team for the 08-09 season.


But it’s not just her lethal slap shot that is respected by her teammates, fans and peers. Wickenheiser’s passion for sport is paralleled by her drive to give back to the community in several ways, particularly to organizations with a commitment to children such as KidSport, Right To Play, Dreams Take Flight, Clean Air Champions, and Spread The Net. Wickenheiser has led numerous projects with the goal of raising the profile of women’s hockey around the world. As a leader on and off the ice, she works to provide mentoring opportunities for young athletes, including founding the Wickenheiser International Women’s Hockey Festival in Burnaby, BC. She was recently appointed to the Order of Canada “for her achievements as an athlete and for her contributions to the growth of women’s hockey.”


“Thanks again for helping us out last night. You rocked it. Feedback has been amazing as people in attendance were completely impressed by your stories and also commented about being inspired and motivated from hearing you speak. I even caught glimpses of a few tears in the room at certain points of your talk. We also received high praise for your approach-ability and people liked the picture op with you and the medals. Once again, thank you!”


Speech Topics

The Olympic Experience A Journey to the World Stage
What is it like to compete in both a summer and winter Olympics? What does a successful team need and how did Team Canada succeed on the World Stage? Wickenheiser shares her inspiring Olympic journey with audiences. 
Under Pressure Dealing with Criticism—How to Perform When it Matters Most
In this talk, Wickenheiser provides inspiration and tips for how to perfom under pressure. She shares advice for how to stay motivated and achieve success by going above and beyond—at home, at work, and on the ice.  
Gender & Sexuality
Playing Men’s Hockey Being a Female in a Male-Dominated World

Wickenheiser explains what it was like to grow up playing with the boys and later playing men’s professional hockey overseas. 

Family Balance Balancing Family and Kids with Competitive Sport
Wickenheiser explains why family support matters, and why prioritizing matters even more! She shares tips for juggling career and family, and her own story of being an Olympian and a mother.