Gold Medal Diary
Inside the World’s Greatest Sports Event
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. Most recently, she was inducted into the International Hockey Hall of Fame, and 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, renowned keynote speaker Hayley Wickenheiser 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.
Recently, the four-time Olympic gold medallist took on the position of Assistant Director of Player Development with the Toronto Maple Leafs, where she will monitor Leafs prospects in the WHL as well as work with players on both the Leafs and the AHL’s Marlies.“The biggest reason why I was intrigued about this role is that [the Leafs were] interested in me — not to hire a woman, but to hire someone who could do the job,” Wickenheiser told the CBC. “I feel pretty confident in my abilities to be in this role and that I belong and can handle myself with anyone.”
“Wickenheiser, arguably the world’s foremost female hockey player, has enough medals, honours and accolades to fill several suitcases...”— Herizons
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.
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 leadership speaker 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.”
Wickenheiser retired as the country’s all-time leading scorer in January 2017 after 23 years on the Canadian women’s team and almost a dozen Olympic and world championship gold medals.
“She was the perfect complement and opening to our event. Tying in with our 100th anniversary celebration, she hit all the right notes in terms of meeting challenges to come, and came with lots of stories, insights, and humour. She really took time to connect with our delegates.”Government Management Association of British Columbia
“Hayley was wonderful to work with and was the best imaginable close for our conference. She did such an excellent job of weaving our theme (The Science of Success) in with her Olympic experience, and graciously signed cards and took pictures with our attendees.”AB Teachers Association, Science Council
“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!”KPMG
Keynote speaker Hayley Wickenheiser explains what it was like to grow up playing with the boys and later playing men’s professional hockey overseas.