Three of Hayley Wickenheiser’s Canadian teammates weren’t born when she won her first women’s world hockey championship in 1994.
Defenceman Halli Krzyzaniak was 12-years-old when she first saw Wickenheiser play in the 2007 world championship final in Winnipeg. When Krzyzaniak scored her first career goal for Canada in an exhibition game Saturday against Sweden, her childhood idol provided an assist.
“That was just surreal for me to say she was in on my first goal because I never thought that would have happened,” Krzyzaniak said.
“For my generation, she was someone we really looked up to and kind of idolized and wanted to be, but I never thought I would be playing with her.”
The 37 year old Shaunavon native is Canada’s all-time leading scorer in goals (168), assists (210) and games played (271) is also the all-time points leader in world championships with 85, including 37 goals as she leads her team into action at the World Womens Hockey Championship which started Monday night in Kamloops with Canada losing to the U-S.
Wickenheiser has worn the Maple Leaf in international hockey for over two decades now. The five-foot-10, 162-pound forward intends to wear it in a sixth Winter Olympic Games in 2018 and pursue a fifth gold medal.
“If you ask any player that plays a long time, there obviously has to be a passion for the game,” Wickenheiser said. “I love to come to the rink and the grind of training and the day-in and day-out things that go into playing is what I enjoy the most.”