She has won 4 gold medals and 13 world championships.

She has brought her passion for hockey to girls, be they cancer patients at Toronto’s SickKids to the far reaches of the Himalayas, and even in to North Korea.

She’s a parent.

She’s in medical school with aspirations to become an emergency room physician.

You would think that with all these sizeable accomplishments under her belt, she would have an ego to match.

And yet, when I had the privilege to meet Hayley Wickenheiser as part of a recent Lindt & Sprungli Canada business partner summit, I found her to be at once humble and inspiring.

Shift change

We’re about the same age, but when I was a kid, playing hockey had never even entered my sphere of consideration. It simply wasn’t something that young girls did, which makes Wickenehiser’s ascent to the top of the game — among men OR women — so remarkable to me. Especially since I took up the sport as an adult and, let’s put it this way: I won’t be making a career out of it anytime soon!

As the mother to three girls, I am so very glad that they perceive any sport — moreover, any opportunity — to be within their reach. While when we were younger, it would have raised eyebrows to see a girl play hockey, now, my girls raise their eyebrows when they see “girl power”-esque statements on t-shirts or posters. They can’t comprehend why girls are being singled out, because to them, everyone is on equal footing. I hope this continues to hold true as they grow.

Hockey buck-it list

Playing hockey was one of the items on my “bucket” list. But as a trailblazer, Wickenheiser had a “buck-it” list of her own, made up of all the things she had to buck in order to play hockey. How did Wickenheiser keep motivated to do so? She loved the game more than she hated all the things she had to overcome in order to play it.

When she retired from the sport, Wickenheiser’s long time sponsor, Gatorade, asked her to share her reflections on hockey, what tackling her buck-it list meant to her. Check it out here.

Wickenheiser credits her success in all her pursuits to learning how to “control what you can, and let go of what you can’t.” As an entrepreneur, mom, and (mediocre) hockey player, I say “AMEN” to that.

What’s YOUR hockey? And, what do you have to buck to pursue your passion?