Jayna Hefford retired from hockey in 2015. She may be one of the best hockey players many have never heard of. The Hockey Hall of Fame is getting it right; Hefford is a legend.
From 2002-2014 she helped Team Canada win four-consecutive Olympic gold medals in women’s hockey. She won gold in seven world championships. She was a fierce competitor and former USA hockey standout, Karen Thatcher, talked about what it was like to play against her.
“Jayna was one of those players you had to always be aware of on the ice because her breakaway speed and goal-scoring ability made her a constant threat. For over a decade she was one of the hardest workers in the game and I think her natural speed pushed the women’s game forward.”
The Trenton, Ontario native set youth hockey records in Kingston that have never been broken by a male or a female.
When Hefford got that famous call. Here was her reaction.
“I’m certainly proud and honored to be inducted alongside these great men (Martin St. Louis, Martin Brodeur, Willie O’Ree, Alexander Yakushev, and Gary Bettman). It’s quite a class to be a part of,” she stated. “When I received the call today it was more emotional than I expected. I think even more emotional than some of the medals I’ve won in the course of my career.
“Simply because this goes towards so many people. Family and friends and coaches, teammates all along the way. It’s something that’s so special. I’m really excited to share it with all those people that helped get me here. I’m very grateful and excited to be a part of this induction.”
Hefford starred in the CWHL. She was a huge star in the league. She was the first player to record 100 points. Until 2017 she had 234 career points and Caroline Ouellette broke that record. She had the record for goals with 130 before that was broken. She won the Angela James Bowl. In 2016, the CWHL introduced the Jayne Hefford Trophy to the most outstanding player in the regular season. That’s a high honor. In 2017, she was voted to the CWHL’s All-Time Team from the league’s first decade.
She began playing hockey at the age of six. She’s raised a lot of money for charity. She’s been a great ambassador for the sport. At some point, it would be great if the NHL had a women’s hockey ambassador. There are a lot of great names to choose from. Hefford would certainly be in the conversation.