A fourth straight Olympic gold medal was not enough to send Canadian Hayley Wickenheiser into retirement.
The greatest women’s hockey player in Olympic history thinks she may have one more Olympics in her in 2018.
“I’d like to go for Pyeongchang,” Wickenheiser, 35, told the Calgary Herald. “You need to stay healthy, and who knows where life will take you in four years, but at this point, that’s what I’m thinking about.”
Wickenheiser has played in every Olympic women’s hockey tournament, beginning in 1998, when she was 19. She also played on the 2000 Canadian Olympic softball team.
So, if she made it to Pyeongchang, Wickenheiser would be a six-time Winter Olympian and seven-time Olympian overall. The record for Winter Olympics only is seven, set by luger Albert Demtschenko and ski jumper Noriaki Kasai this year. The record for overall Olympics is 10 by Canadian equestrian Ian Millar.
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, 2010 and 2014.
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 said in October that she had not decided if she would retire after the Sochi Olympics. In Sochi, she tallied two goals and three assists playing with a broken bone in her foot. Canada beat the U.S. in a memorable gold-medal game. Many assumed it was Wickenheiser’s final Olympic game, but not the player.
That was revealed when a Calgary elementary school student asked Wickenheiser why she decided to retire.
“Well,” Wickenheiser answered, according to the Calgary Herald. “I didn’t technically retire. People think I might be retiring, because I’ve been around a long time.”
Wickenheiser talked to Finnish legend Teemu Selanne at the Olympics. Selanne, 43, was MVP of the men’s tournament in Sochi and just retired from the NHL.
“Age is just a label,” she said. “It’s something people want to define in sport.
“I don’t feel like my game has suffered at all. I think I can still get better as a player. When I’m not the player I want to be is when I know I’m done.”