Toronto’s most inspiring women of 2021: Hayley Wickenheiser

Our annual showcase of the city’s most inspiring women who have led by example, achieved against all odds and made this city and this year special.

The Triple Threat

Hayley Wickenheiser already secured a permanent place in the hearts of Canadians everywhere after leading Team Canada multiple times to victory against our greatest rivals, earning four gold medals (plus a silver) and now leading the Toronto Maple Leafs as senior director of player development. But her recent foray into the world of medicine as a resident physician in a Toronto hospital emergency department has made even more of a difference during a time when healthcare workers are sacrificing everything to keep everyone safe and healthy.

By Christina Flores-Chan| Journalist

Growing up as a girl in sports, Canadian professional hockey player and four-time Olympic gold medallist Hayley Wickenheiser meant so much to me. I would marvel at her, starry-eyed as I watched her on TV, a show of brilliance every time she took to the ice. When she led the country to the gold medal after every Olympic Games, I asked my dad to teach me to play hockey despite my lifelong dedication to sports like ballet and cheerleading. When she walked into the Sochi opening ceremonies with the Canadian flag on her back in 2014, I got my hands on the Bay’s Team Canada Olympic mittens the very next day. I wasn’t the only girl who looked up to Hayley back then, and I’m not the only woman who still reads about her in awe today.

Yes, she is one of the most powerful and accomplished women in sport of all time, as the country’s all-time leader in several international hockey categories and the first woman to score a goal in a men’s professional league.

Yes, she is now a resident emergency doctor at a hospital in Toronto by day and senior director of player development for the Toronto Maple Leafs by night.

Yes, she just released a nationally bestselling novel to add to her copious titles of accomplishment.
But she is also, and perhaps most importantly, a woman who unapologetically dove into a male-dominated industry and proved that she, along with other young girls watching with their Team Canada mittens on, deserve to be there.

See our full list of Toronto’s most inspiring women of 2021 here. 

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO