(Edmonton, AB)— Today the Edmonton Oilers, with the support of the Calgary Flames, hosted a celebration prior to puck drop of the latest version of the ‘Battle of Alberta’ to celebrate the outstanding career of Canadian women’s hockey icon Hayley Wickenheiser. Wickenheiser has been a trailblazer for women’s hockey across the globe and has made a deep impact on grassroots hockey in Alberta. Her commitment to furthering the game and love for the Edmonton Oilers growing up created the perfect opportunity to honour Wickenheiser’s accomplishments both on and off the ice. With her son Noah, parents Marilyn and Tom, teammate and coach Danielle Goyette and mentor Wally Kozak, the heartfelt ceremony included a message from Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG) Partner & Vice Chairman Wayne Gretzky. The ceremony also included a special video tribute with congratulations from her hockey idol Mark Messier, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Hockey Canada President and CEO Tom Renney, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada’s next generation of female hockey players.
“Hayley’s accomplishments on the ice speak for themselves, as she was an integral part of so many great Canadian Women’s National Teams winning Gold medals and World Championships,” said friend and OEG CEO & Vice Chairman Bob Nicholson. “But, just as important are Hayley’s contributions off the ice, inspiring so many young girls across the country and giving back to the game in so many ways. She is a trailblazer in every sense of the word and it was an honour for the Oilers, teaming up with the Flames, to be a part of her special night. We wish Hayley all the best in the next chapter of her life and we’re sure she will be successful in whatever she chooses to do.”
“We are truly honoured to team up with the Edmonton Oilers to pay tribute to one of Canada’s hockey icons,” said Calgary Sports and Entertainment President & CEO Ken King. “Hayley’s contributions to hockey, both on and off the ice, have burned a trail of success that will provide a positive impact for generations to come. We congratulate her on an amazing career and we are sure she will bring the same passion and determination to her post hockey life. Thank you Hayley for sharing your journey with all Albertans and allowing us to celebrate you tonight.”
Wickenheiser, born in Shaunavon, SK, is Hockey Canada’s all-time leader in games played (270), goals (168), assists (207), points (375) and is a five-time Olympic medalist. The ceremony not only celebrated her accomplishments as a hockey player, but also acknowledged her several local and international charitable endeavours including: Spread the Net, Clean Air Champions and Right to Play. She also holds the Canadian Tire Female World Hockey Festival—commonly known as WickFest—every fall to help celebrate and grow the female game.
“I want to thank the Oilers organization for allowing me this moment to say goodbye to Canadians as a hockey player. I grew up idolizing the Oilers and it seems fitting that I would say goodbye here – at a Edmonton vs. Calgary game – representing the two cities that have given so much to my career,” said Hayley Wickenheiser.
The pre-game ceremony was important for the Edmonton Oilers as an opportunity to celebrate Wickenheiser’s contribution to the game of hockey and to celebrate women’s hockey. However, for Wickenhesier, it was important for her to have the opportunity to pass the proverbial torch onto the next generation of female hockey players in Canada and around the world.