The greatest player in Olympic women’s hockey history is not ready to call the Sochi Olympics her farewell.
Hayley Wickenheiser is one of two Canadians to play in every Olympic tournament (Jayna Hefford is the other), winning silver in 1998 and gold in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
Wickenheiser took tournament MVP honors in 2002 and 2006, read the athlete’s oath at the 2010 Olympics and is the all-time leading scorer in Olympic women’s hockey history.
She’s 35 with seemingly nothing left to accomplish on the international stage, yet Sochi may not be her final Olympics.
“It is not something I have decided,” the 5-foot-10, 180-pound forward told the Medicine Hat (Alberta) News going into the first of a six-game exhibition series between the U.S. and Canada on Saturday night in Burlington, Vt.
That decision will come after the Sochi Games, where Canada will attempt to win its fourth straight Olympic gold. That would match the men’s hockey record for consecutive Olympic titles, held by Canada (1920-36) and the Soviet Union (1964-76).
The U.S. women own the momentum, though, winning the World Championship on Canadian ice in April.
“I guess we go in as underdogs,” Wickenheiser told the newspaper before Canada beat an Alberta boys junior team Wednesday night. “I love going into those big battles against the U.S. and the big games that we play in. It kind of fuels the fire to keep playing.”
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Fenway Park will host some of the world’s best freeskiers in the one-of-a-kind Big Air at Fenway, live on NBC Sports Live Extra on Friday night.
Big air skiers will descend from a ramp that’s four times higher than the Green Monster inside the hallowed Boston Red Sox home.
Ski big air is most like slopestyle of the current Olympic disciplines, except skiers get one jump per run.
WATCH LIVE: Big Air at Fenway — 8:30 p.m. ET
On Thursday, Canadian Max Parrot and American Julia Marino won the snowboard big air competitions at Fenway Park.
Big Air at Fenway coverage will conclude with an NBC show on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.
MORE: Olympic champ suffers concussion at Big Air at Fenway practice
In an homage to the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympics, Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway lit the Lillehammer Youth Winter Olympic cauldron to cap the Opening Ceremony on Friday night.
The princess’ father, Crown Prince Haakon, lit the 1994 Olympic cauldron in a very similar fashion (video here). Princess Ingrid Alexandra was born in 2004.
The Opening Ceremony, held outdoors at a ski jump (same venue as 1994) in sub-freezing temperatures, included a speech from International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.
“I’m just a little bit too old to compete in the YOG,” Bach said, urging listeners to use the hashtag #IloveYOG during the nine-day Winter Games.
The ceremony included Olympic legends, such as 2010 figure skating gold medalist Yuna Kim and eight-time Olympic cross-country champion Bjorn Daehlie carrying the Olympic flag.
Marit Bjoergen, a 10-time Olympic medalist cross-country skier, handed the Olympic flame to the princess.
NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra will air coverage of the Opening Ceremony on Saturday at 12:30 a.m. ET, plus daily coverage throughout the Winter Games. A full broadcast schedule is here.
MORE: Two years to Pyeongchang: Updates on U.S. Olympic medalists from Sochi