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Hayley Wickenheiser retires from hockey

Won four Olympic gold medals playing for Canada

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

Four-time Canadian Olympic gold medalist Hayley Wickenheiser, long considered the best female hockey player in the world, announced her retirement as a player Friday on Twitter.

Tweet from @wick_22: Dear Canada. It has been the great honour of my life to play for you. Time to hang em up!! Thank you! #grateful #graduationday #canada pic.twitter.com/qzEo6sTgP2

Wickenheiser scored 18 goals and 51 points in 26 games for Canada at the Winter Olympics. The center scored 37 goals and 86 points in 61 games at the Women's World Championship.

As one of the most respected athletes not only in Canada but worldwide, Wickenheiser was bestowed one of the highest civilian honors of her country when she was appointed to The Order of Canada in 2011.

She has a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in Toronto and was ranked No. 20 on The 25 "Toughest Athletes in the World" by Sports Illustrated. She's among the Globe and Mail's "Power 50" influencers in sport, and QMI Agency's top 10 "Greatest Female Athletes of The History of Sports." In addition to her Olympic success, Wickenheiser is a seven-time IIHF Women's World Championship gold medalist.

Her work as a philanthropist and humanitarian has been far reaching, particularly to those organizations with a commitment to youth such as JumpStart, Right to Play, KidSport, cancer-related causes and many others related to youth and autism.

Here's a timeline of Wickenheiser's life and career:

Aug. 12, 1978: Wickenheiser is born in Shaunovon, Saskatchewan.

March 1991: At age 12, scores the winning goal in the gold-medal game for Alberta at the Under-18 Canada Winter Games and was named most valuable player of the championship game.

January 1994: At 15, is named to Canada's National Women's Team for the first time.

April 17, 1994: Wins a gold medal for Canada at the Women's World Championship in Lake Placid, New York. She scored her first international point on an assist.

June 1994: Participates in the Canadian Softball Midget Nationals and is named All-Canadian softball shortstop and top hitter.

Feb. 17, 1998: Wins silver medal at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, where women's hockey is introduced as a medal sport. Scores two goals and eight points in six games.

September 1998: Is invited to participate in Philadelphia Flyers rookie camp by general manager Bobby Clarke. She is invited in 1999 as well.

Sept. 17, 2000: Plays first game for Canada's National Softball Team at the 2000 Sydney Olympics to become the second woman to compete in the Summer and Winter Games and first to do it in a team sport.

Feb. 21, 2002: Wins a gold medal and is named most valuable player of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics after scoring seven goals and 10 points in five tournament games.

Feb. 1, 2003: Becomes first woman to score a goal in a men's professional hockey league playing for Kirkkonummen Salamat in Finland's second division.

Feb. 20, 2006: Wins a gold medal and is named most valuable player of the 2006 Torino Olympics after scoring five goals and 17 points in five tournament games.

Feb. 17, 2010: Becomes the women's all-time leading Olympic goal scorer when she scores her second goal of the tournament and 16th of the Olympics in a 13-1 win against Sweden at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Feb. 25, 2010: Wins gold medal serving as Canada captain in Vancouver, scoring two goals and 11 points in five tournament games.

June 30, 2011: Is named an Officer of the Order of Canada by Governor General David Johnston.

July 15, 2011: Has $14 million recreational complex in her hometown of Shaunovon named after her, the Crescent Point Wickenheiser Centre.

Aug. 28, 2012: Wickenheiser and United States defenseman Angela Ruggiero are first female athletes to be featured as a playable characters in a professional sports league video game for "NHL 13".

June 2013: Earns Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from the University of Calgary.

Jan. 23, 2014: Is named Canada's flag-bearer for Opening Ceremony of 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Feb. 20, 2014: Wins fourth consecutive gold medal in Sochi after scoring two goals and five points in five tournament games. Joins Canadian teammates Jayna Hefford and Caroline Ouellette as the first hockey players to win four Olympic gold medals.

Feb. 20, 2014: Is elected to the International Olympic Committee's Athletes' Commission.

Sept. 16, 2014: Wickenheiser is named one of six to be memorialized on Canada's Walk of Fame in October 2014. Honorees' names are engraved on stars, which are displayed on the sidewalks of King Street West and Simcoe Street in Toronto's downtown entertainment district.

June 2015: Completes Masters in Medical Sciences.

Sept. 28, 2016: Joins Professional Advisory Board for HighMark Health, a Canadian organization that provides leadership and innovative technologies to assist with diagnosis and treatment of concussions.

Jan. 13, 2017: Announces her retirement as a hockey player.

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