It took them more than a decade to reach the century mark but both Danielle Goyette and Hayley Wickenheiser did it, becoming the first two players in the history of Canada’s National Women’s Team to score 100 goals.
The two veteran Team Canada members each reached the 100-goal mark last year during international games leading up to the 2006 Olympics in Turin, where Canada earned a second straight gold medal.
Goyette, a Team Canada member since 1992, has scored 107 goals in 162 international games. The 5-foot-6 native of St. Nazaire, QC has also earned a team-high 20 medals with Team Canada.
“I know there are not a lot of people who score 100 goals at the international level and it’s certainly an honour but most of all I remember who I played with when I scored my 100th goal,” said Goyette, 40. “It was Vicky Sunohara and Cassie Campbell. I can tell you I remember the first goal I scored was with Nancy Drolet and France Montour. The goals were important but I remember who I was playing with more than anything else. I’ve been fortunate to play with many great players during my career.”
Wickenheiser has scored 110 goals in 169 games but has never forgotten the first one.
“It was just a rebound that came out and I redirected it into the net. It was in Ottawa against the U.S., I was 15 years old … that was very exciting,” said the 5-foot-10 Wickenheiser, a native of Shaunavon, SK who has earned 19 medals with Team Canada. “It (100 goals) is not an easy thing to do in the women’s game because we don’t play a lot of international matches. But it’s something I’m proud of and really is a milestone in a career.”
While Wickenheiser’s career has captured the imagination of many Canadians from her rural Saskatchewan roots to her foray into the men’s professional ranks in Finland in 2003, where she became the first female to register a point in male hockey, she points to accomplishments with Team Canada as the most memorable.
“A goal that stands out for me is in Salt Lake City (2002 Olympics). Scoring in the gold-medal game there might have been the biggest single goal of my career,” Wickenheiser said, recalling her goal in the final against the USA that put Canada ahead 2-1. “I’ve had the good fortune to play with a number of great players, like Danielle Goyette who has made me look good on a number of occasions. Great players like her or Geraldine
Heaney, make it easier to score goals.”
Both Goyette and Wickenheiser have had a front-row seat for the most pivotal period in Canadian women’s hockey history.
“When I started playing hockey, women’s hockey was nothing. We didn’t have world championships or Olympics,” Goyette said. “But now we have all that. It was pretty amazing to be part of the first women’s Olympic team (in 1998). You’re happy about what you did but to be able to share those moments with teammates is what you never forget.”
Wickenheiser said it’s more than being “a pioneer for the game.”
“I feel proud of where the game has come and I feel like also it’s a big responsibility to continue to help grow the game to a higher level,” she said. “We’re capable of so much more. As Canadians we can never sit back and say we’re good enough. We’re never good enough, we have to always raise the bar because everyone else is chasing us.”
Fans across Canada can rest assured they’ll see Goyette for at least one more world championship as the 2007 IIHF World Women’s Championship in Winnipeg and Selkirk, MB April 3-10 is on her radar screen.
“I don’t think I’m going to keep playing long enough to get another 100 goals but my goal is for sure to play at the world championship,” Goyette said.
Wickenheiser wasn’t ruling anything out.
“I’m going to play for a few more years so why not aim for 200!” she said. “Set your sights high!”
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