Hayley Wickenheiser's farewell to hockey is giving us all the feels

"You gave me both joy and pain, but I wouldn't have it any other way."

In case you missed it, one of the greatest hockey players of our time has officially hung up her skates. Hayley Wickenheiser was not only a huge role model to young girls, but to everyone who loves the game.

In this new Gatorade commercial, the hockey legend says goodbye to her “true first love,” while reflecting on the struggles and triumphs that got her to where she is today. She’s won four gold medals and 13 world championships, but for an athlete who’s given so much to the hockey world, Hayley found that the game gave her much more in return: true freedom.

It wasn’t always easy for Hayley. It was lonely being the only girl playing with boys and men. But when she stepped onto the ice, she knew she belonged. What an incredible way to show little girls (and anyone) that you can belong anywhere if you love something that much.

And while Hayley credits Canada’s favourite sport for the life lessons she learned and for giving her so much in her life, being a mother has taught her that there is more to life than just the game. So important to remember.

Here’s hoping we get another great athlete in the next generation who loves the game as fiercely as this hockey legend did. Thanks for teaching us, Hayley, that girls can push their “bodies through hell and back” and come out victorious like you!

Read more:
(Family) life after hockey: Q&A with Hayley Wickenheiser
How does she do it? Hayley Wickenheiser
How to raise the next Sidney Crosby

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