Ready To Rumble?
Some wondered if Wickenheiser, at five feet, nine inches in height and 170 pounds, could withstand the likely assaults from male players who dwarfed her. Richmond Renegades coach Gord Dineen theorized that Wickenheiser would be happy to prove herself. "I don't think guys would really hold back," he told Eric Duhatschek of the Cincinnati Post. "They're playing for their jobs, too. Plus, being a competitor and knowing what she's done for women's hockey, I don't think she'd want guys holding back either." Even Canada's top female player confessed her doubts about playing in co-ed hockey at the pre-NHL level. She knew the ECHL was a rough arena, and had played against some of its members in the occasional pick-up game. Characterizing it as "a desperate league, full of guys trying to make it," she told the Detroit Free Press the ECHL was "a North American style of hockey and I don't know if it's a style I'm capable of playing." She preferred the European leagues, and her agent was still attempting to find her a spot for her on a German, Austrian, Swiss, or Italian team as a forward. The agent, Wade Arnott, told David Naylor in a report that appeared in the Cincinnati Post that "Europe is still priority No. 1 for Hayley. We believe Europe is the right place for her because it—especially the Italian League—has the right emphasis on skating and skill for her…. [But] we haven't ruled anything out."
Even if Wickenheiser never made it to the NHL, she worked to ensure that a younger generation of female players would have the chance. She promotes hockey for women of all ages, and has even founded her own traveling hockey clinic for girls, the "Wick One-on-One Tour."
- Hayley Wickenheiser - Awards And Accomplishments
- Hayley Wickenheiser - Made Olympic History
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