No one knows Hayley Wickenheiser better than Danielle Goyette, who spent a decade as her linemate and coached her. Goyette and Wickenheiser played for Canada at the Olympics three times, winning silver in 1998 and gold in 2002 and 2006. Goyette was an assistant for Canada at the Olympics in 2014, when Wickenheiser won gold again, and coached Wickenheiser at the University of Calgary from 2010-15, winning a national title in 2012.
Before Goyette was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017, Wickenheiser wrote a testimonial for NHL.com. With Wickenheiser to be inducted Nov. 18, Goyette is returning the favor:
Hayley Wickenheiser helped push women's hockey to the next level year after year. She made people talk about it because of what she did, and now we're not just talking about women's hockey in Canada and the United States, but around the world.
Is she the best of all-time? With her stats, I can't argue. She was the most dominant player we had in women's hockey for all the years she played.
Wick was a power forward. Right away, her shot was what separated her. She'd shoot all the time. I was just smart enough to pass her the puck.
Our relationship as linemates was really intense; Wick wanted to be the best, I wanted to be the best. Sometimes I'd I say, 'Hey, pass the [bleeping] puck,' and we went at it. But she was the only player I was able to talk to like that. We would play for maybe a month together, and they'd take us apart for a week because it was so intense. They'd put us back together, and it was always stronger. It was not always easy to play with her because of her intensity, but it wasn't a personal thing. It was the intensity she put into the game and how much pressure she put on herself to perform.
When you're the best player, the game plan for opponents revolves around you. You don't have as much room as everybody else. And when you stay in the game for so long, people get to know what you do before you do it. But she worked hard to change her game to make sure she was not predictable. She had an impact on every game she played.
She skated with NHL players and worked with their trainers and skills coaches. Not a lot of people would have done that because of intimidation. "Am I good enough to train with that person? Am I good enough to go on the ice with these guys?" She went overseas where she put herself in situations that were not easy. That's who she is. She never took the easy route.
Wick and I had a good player/coach relationship when she played for me at the University of Calgary. It was easy to coach her because she was so motivated. She was expected to perform every time she stepped on the ice. She excelled in the classroom and was everything a program needs to set expectations for how student-athletes need to behave, perform and act, on and off the ice.
Hockey was her life, and she was lucky to be able to play for as long as she did. From the first day she came to the program to the last day, I would say she was the most influential person our program has had.
Now, even after her retirement, she still is a big influence for females in the game around the world. She knows how special it is for a young girl to have a chance to play the game she loves. She is a big part of why it's OK for girls and women around the world to play hockey.
Wick is someone who excels in everything she does. Her dedication to excellence is off the charts. Her passion for the game, her intensity, and her work ethic are second to none. She will never stop chasing excellence. She will always push herself to be the best she can be!