Hayley Wickenheiser eyes return to Canadian national hockey team

Hayley Wickenheiser
AP
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Hockey icon Hayley Wickenheiser intends to play for the Canadian national team for the first time since the Sochi Olympics in November, again at the 2016 World Championship and perhaps, for a sixth time at the Olympics, in Pyeongchang.

“I’d like to play through 2018,” Wickenheiser said, according to the Canadian Press. “Today, I don’t see any reason why I can’t. Physically I’m fitter than I’ve ever been really, considering my foot and the way I was able to come back and feel pretty healthy and good on the ice.”

Wickenheiser also said three months after the Sochi Olympics that she would “like to go for Pyeongchang.”

Since, she underwent a second left foot surgery in as many years in February and celebrated her 37th birthday in August. Wickenheiser played in Sochi with a broken bone in her left foot.

A doctor told Wickenheiser not to put weight on her foot for four months following this year’s surgery to have a plate and eight screws inserted, according to the Canadian Press.

“It was a pretty serious injury to the point where they said if you put any weight on it you could risk long-term damage,” Wickenheiser said, according to the report. “This is the most serious injury I’ve ever had in my career — a lot of dark days wondering if I’d ever walk normally again. I did everything the surgeon said.”

Wickenheiser is the last active Canadian or American player from the first Olympics with women’s hockey at Nagano 1998, after teammate Jayna Hefford announced her retirement last week.

In Pyeongchang, she could become the first woman to earn a medal in six different Winter Olympics. Wickenheiser also played softball for Canada at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

Wickenheiser could next represent Canada at the Four Nations Cup in Sweden in November.

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