EDMONTON, AB -- The Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers teamed up to celebrate the outstanding career of Canadian women's hockey icon Hayley Wickenheiser tonight prior to the latest version of the 'Battle of Alberta' at Rogers Place in Edmonton. Wickenheiser has been a trailblazer for women's hockey across the globe and has made a deep impact on grassroots hockey in Alberta.
With her son Noah, parents Marilyn and Tom, teammate and coach Danielle Goyette and mentor Wally Kozak, the heartfelt ceremony included a message from long-time friend and Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG) CEO & Vice Chairman Bob Nicholson. The ceremony included a special video tribute with congratulations from her hockey idol Mark Messier, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Hockey Canada President and CEO Tom Renney, Flames Assistant General Manager Craig Conroy, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada's next generation of female hockey players.
"We are truly honoured to team 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."
"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 OEG CEO & Vice Chair and friend 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."
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 Flames and Oilers as an opportunity to celebrate Wickenheiser's contribution to the game of hockey and to celebrate women's hockey. However for Wickenheiser, it was important for her to have the opportunity to pass the proverbial torch on to the next generation of female hockey players in Canada and around the world.