Sports Illustrated names Canadian Hockey Superstar Hayley Wickenheiser as the 20th toughest athlete. See biography, photos and video below.
Its not often that you hear much about womens’ ice hockey. Its also not often that you hear of a woman making the Sports Illustrated list of the top 25 toughest athletes. Hayley Wickenheiser is both of those things. She’s a Canadian ice hockey superstar and is 20th on the list of toughest athletes. Only one other woman made the list.
“No player in women’s hockey drives to the net with such purpose and fury,” the magazine’s website reads. “Wickenheiser has grown from teen phenom to grande dame of Canadian hockey, carrying the weight of her country and game every time [she’s] on the ice. Sadly, she isn’t allowed to bodycheck.”
Hayley Wickenheiser was born in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan on August 12, 1978. She plays for the Canadian women’s ice hockey team. She was named to the team at just 15-years of age to play in the world championships. She has been on skates virtually all her life, playing on the boys teams until she was age 13. The 29-year-old 5′ 10′, 170-pound is the captain of the Canadian women’s squad. They are currently in Harbin, China for the world championships.
In 2003 she became the first woman to play professional hockey in any position other than goalie. She became the first woman play in a Men’s professional hockey league when she played for HC Salamat in Finland. During that season, she also becomes the first woman to score a goal playing in a Men’s professional league. During that season she played 23 games, scored 2 goals and adding 10 assists.
Wickenheiser lead her women’s hockey team to the Silver in Nagano in 1998 and to gold in Salt Lake City in 2002 and in Torino in 2006 Torino. She is also an accomplished softball and fastball player. She represented Canada in the summer Olympics in 2000 in that sport, however she has not been as active in softball since then.
She was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters by Nipissing University in 2004. In 2006 she was honored by her hometown of Shaunovan when they named their sportsplex there after her. It is now ‘Wickenheiser Place’.
Wickenheiser lives in Calgary with her boyfriend Tomas Pacina and their son, Noah.