OTTAWA – The race is on to 500 all-time goals at the Women’s World Championship. Since 1990, the United States has scored 488 goals in 14 previous tournaments while Canada is right behind with 481.
Incredibly, Canada’s captain Hayley Wickenheiser has 85 career WW points since she started playing in 1997. That means, despite missing the first three WW tournaments, she has still been involved in 17.7 per cent of all Canada’s goals, an incredible ratio. As impressive, retired American hall of famer Cammi Granato leads all WW scorers with 44 goals. So, even though she hasn’t played a women’s event since 2005, she still accounts for 9.02 per cent of her team’s total goals!
Finland is the top-scoring European nation with 282 goals and Sweden is well back fourth overall with 225. Switzerland again is a distant fifth with 123 and Russia trails by one at 122. Germany has 83 goals while the Czechs, playing in their first WW here in Ottawa, have yet to record their first top-level goal.
Riikka Nieminen, another IIHF hall of famer, is the top European goal scorer with 30 to her credit, so her percentage is best, accounting for 10.6 per cent of all Finnish goals.
Wickenheiser and Jayna Hefford are also about to become the most senior WW players of all time. As soon as they step on the ice to face the Americans to open the tournament on Tuesday night, they will have played in their 12th Women’s Worlds, besting Sweden’s Gunilla Andersson for longevity. They also hold the record with eleven WW medals (7 gold, 4 silver) and seem certain to add to their totals this year.
Finland’s Karoliina Rantamaki holds the record of 57 games played and will add to her total this year. The 35-year-old forward is in the lineup again, her eleventh Women’s Worlds since starting in 1997.
Sadly, Sweden’s goalie, Kim Martin, will not be able to tie Canada’s Kim St. Pierre for most WW by a goalie (8). She suffered a pre-tournament injury that put her out of the 2013 WW, so she’ll have to wait another two years to try to reach that milestone (there is no WW in Olympic years).
Swiss goalie Florence Schelling, already a veteran at age 24, is also poised to set a new record for minutes played by a goalie. She is about 223 minutes behind the all-time leader, Hong Guo of China, so if she plays most of Switzerland’s five games, she’ll surpass Guo’s mark. She also might catch Guo for games played, trailing 31-25.