Two-time Olympic gold medallist Haley Irwin (Thunder Bay, Ont.) officially announced her retirement from international competition with Canada’s National Women’s Team on Wednesday.
The 31-year old made her debut with the national team program in 2009, winning back-to-back gold medals at the Olympic Winter Games in 2010 (Vancouver) and 2014 (Sochi, Russia), adding a silver medal in 2018 (PyeongChang, South Korea). Irwin retires among the top 20 all-time scorers with Canada’s National Women’s Team, amassing 80 points (38 goals, 42 assists) in 108 games.
Irwin also represented Canada at five IIHF Women’s World Championships, winning gold in 2012 and silver in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2017. At the 4 Nations Cup, Irwin won four gold (2009, 2010, 2013, 2014) and four silver (2011, 2012, 2016, 2017). With Canada’s National Under-22 Team, she added a silver medal at the 2009 MLP Cup and a gold medal at the 2008 Air Canada Cup.
“Hockey has been my passion since I was a young girl and I feel very fortunate to have been able to wear the Maple Leaf and represent this amazing country we live in,” said Irwin. “Hockey has taught me so many valuable lessons, given me so many amazing experiences and helped shape the person I am today. My teammates have become like family to me and I am forever grateful for the friendships I have gained and will cherish the memories we made.”
She represented her home province of Ontario at the Esso Women’s Nationals, winning bronze in 2007 and gold in 2005, and won a gold medal with Ontario Red at the 2005 National Women’s Under-18 Championship.
“Haley was always driven to win and fiercely competitive, which is why she was so successful. Her ability to read the game was a large part of that success and will no doubt be with her as pursues a coaching career,” said Gina Kingsbury, Hockey Canada’s director of women’s national teams. “We thank Haley for being a part of our program for 11 years and for contributing to our success. We have been fortunate to have Haley return to Hockey Canada in a mentor role, leading and inspiring our younger athletes to reach their goals, on and off the ice. We look forward to welcoming her back in the future, this time behind the bench.”
Irwin played four seasons at the University of Minnesota Duluth, winning the NCAA national championship in 2008, and she was named WCHA rookie of the year that season, leading the Bulldogs and the conference in scoring. She was also a two-time finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award as the top women’s player in NCAA hockey before being selected third overall by the Montreal Stars in the 2012 CWHL Draft.
Her dedication to the game also inspired her to make the transition to coaching. Irwin has been working as a player-coach, shaping the next generation of aspiring hockey players since 2014. While playing with the Calgary Inferno of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League she helped coach at the Edge School, with the Calgary Fire (Midget AAA) and with teams at the Team Alberta Challenge and Alberta Winter Games. Following the 2018 Olympics, she began coaching more on a full-time basis with the Barrie Jr. Sharks of the Provincial Women’s Hockey League, assisted with player development and skills sessions with Canada’s National Women’s Program and is going into her second year as lead assistant coach with the women’s hockey team at Ryerson University.
“I owe so many thank yous to the incredible people who guided me, supported me and believed in me,” Irwin said. “To my family, who have been on this amazing journey with me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your endless support and love. Playing for Team Canada was an honour and a dream come true and I will carry it with me for the rest of my life.”
A video of Irwin’s career highlights is available at HockeyCanada.ca.