University of Saskatchewan to award Hayley Wickenheiser honorary degree

Canadian hockey icon Hayley Wickenheiser will be awarded an honorary degree from the University of Saskatchewan next month. AAron Ontiveroz / Getty Images

The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) announced it will celebrate Canadian hockey icon Hayley Wickenheiser, 38, by awarding her an honorary degree next month.

University officials said the five-time Olympic medallist’s impact as a mentor for female hockey players has helped develop the game dramatically across the country.

“Hayley Wickenheiser has been the face of women’s hockey for decades and a remarkable role model for young players from coast to coast,” U of S president Peter Stoicheff said in a press release.

“Off the ice, Hayley has been a passionate advocate for youth in all sports, working with a wide variety of charities and community programs as well as fundraising for girls who couldn’t otherwise afford to play hockey.”

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Wickenheiser grew up playing minor hockey in Shaunavon, Sask., before moving to Calgary with her family.

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At age 15 she made her international hockey debut and went on to play 23 seasons wearing the Maple Leaf before retiring as the all-time leading scorer in the history of the national women’s team with 168 goals in 276 career games.

Additionally, Wickenheiser was a member of Team Canada when women’s hockey was first introduced as a medal sport in 1998 and served as flag bearer at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

“It is really special, especially coming from the U of S,” Wickenheiser said.

“My heart is, and always will be, in Saskatchewan. That is where my life was really shaped and I am grateful to be able to come there and receive an honorary degree and to be able to address the students.”

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She will receive her honorary Doctor of Laws during a spring convocation ceremony on June 8 at Saskatoon’s TCU Place.

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