Hayley Wickenheiser shares her story in new book – .

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Hayley Wickenheiser shares her story in new book – .


TORONTO –

Arguably the greatest female hockey player of all time, Hayley Wickenheiser has spent two decades sculpting the ice, racking up Olympic medals and taking on the challenges professional sport has to offer.

Today his accomplishments include graduating from medical school and earning a MD during a global pandemic, while still working in player development with the Toronto Maple Leafs. .

Wickenheiser, speaking to the CTV News Channel on Sunday about his new book “Over the Boards: Lessons from the Ice,” acknowledged that it sounds great when you put it all out.

“But this is really the evolution of my life,” she said. “I had a long career – 23 years – in hockey and then like most athletes it ends and you have to figure out what you’re going to do next with your life.

“It was a very natural progression for me to enter medicine,” she added.

She said anyone who had known her since she was “about 10” would have known that she eventually wanted to go into medicine.

“I spent as much time in the training room with the medics and coaches as I spent in the locker room, probably,” she said.

Wickenheiser is best known for her historic journey as a hockey player, winning four Olympic gold medals with Canada’s women’s team and seven gold medals at the world championships.

She was also the first woman to play full-time professional hockey in a role other than goalie.

Wickenheiser officially retired from hockey in 2017, but she didn’t slow down from there. In 2018, she was hired as assistant director of player development for the Toronto Maple Leafs, while continuing her medical education.

But what she couldn’t expect was that as her journey as a medical student drew to a close, a huge curve was upon us: COVID-19.

“Like everyone in this country and around the world, in the space of about 24 hours, 20 months ago my life as I knew it was over,” said Wickenheiser. “I was taken off my last rotation as a medical student, I had just finished my studies because they were concerned about the lack of PPE. I was working in the NHL, commuting between Calgary and Toronto for the Leafs, and it suddenly stopped, so I found myself kind of just sitting down, thinking ‘what am I going to do?

But giving up was not an option. Wickenheiser is committed to pursuing her career in medicine, although she had to start her residency at the height of the pandemic.

Understanding the brunt of the situation, she even helped lead an initiative in 2020 to try to help frontline workers across Canada obtain personal protective equipment.

“When we went back to the hospital for our rotations, I was coming home every day and I have a 21 year old son who is paralyzed with anxiety about ‘Mom, please don’t don’t kill grandmother and grandfather ”, because my mother and my father live right next to us,” she said. “So there was that kind of fear at the start of the pandemic. “

She now works in the emergency department of a Toronto hospital and says the struggles she went through during her hockey career helped her cope with this type of stress.

When Wickenheiser started playing hockey as a young girl in Saskatchewan, she played exclusively on boys’ teams and had to change clothes in places like the boiler room because there was no locker room for her.

“As a young kid I didn’t know anything different so it felt like that was what you’re going to have to go through if you want to play the game,” she said. “Now that I look back, I am grateful for all the adversity that I have had in my career and in my life, just because I feel like I have developed a lot of resilience and ability. to deal with difficult things, with criticism.

“When you are in medicine you come to your residence, every day you go to work, someone tells you something to do better or what you are doing wrong, and if you are not able to handle that, it can. to be an overwhelming experience.

She added that she was happy that the sport has gone further now and that young girls no longer have the same hoops for jumping as her.

“You can walk into an ice rink with a bag and a stick on your shoulder and no one looks twice like when I played the game, so it’s come a long way,” she said.

Wickenheiser said the high pressure situation of a hockey game was not that different from working in the medical field.

“It’s the same kind of pressure. The stakes are much higher in the hospital, of course, when you have people’s lives in your hands, but everything I have learned in sport, I use it every day in the hospital ” , she said.

Since the start of the pandemic, Wickenheiser has been promoted to senior director of player development for the Leafs, continuing to juggle her work with the team and her medical work.

Her new book detailing her trip came out earlier this week. And its current and continuing objective? Help campaign for Canadians to get their chance.

“Everyone: get vaccinated, and then we’ll be fine,” she said.

It’s just one more mission for this unstoppable Canadian.

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