Top women’s hockey moments of the 2010s
by Andrew Podnieks|01 JAN 2020
Canada's Marie-Philip Poulin celebrates with her Olympic gold medal after scoring the overtime winner in the final against the United States.
photo: Jeff Vinnick / HHOF-IIHF Images
The next big event on the women’s hockey calendar will be the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada, so herewith is a look back at the top hockey moments in senior women’s hockey from the last decade (2010-19). Happy New Year!

10. Florence Schelling retires

When Switzerland’s Florence Schelling retired soon after the 2018 Olympics, she left behind a trail of records that will be difficult to equal. She played in 44 Women’s World Championship games (a record), 2,578:35 minutes (record), and won 21 games (record). She also played in 10 tournaments (tied with Sara Grahn all time). At the Olympics, she has played at four Games (tied), recorded five shutouts (record), and won 10 games (tied).
Florence Schelling’s MVP performance during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games helped the Swiss women’s national team earn a historic Olympic bronze medal.
photo: Jeff Vinnick / HHOF-IIHF Images

9. Women’s Worlds goes to 10 teams

It was in 2013 that the IIHF changed the structure of the Women’s Worlds from parallel (even division of teams) to vertical (top 4 teams in one group, bottom 4 in another). That was phase one of where we are today, but in 2019 the event went from 8 teams to 10, to help promote and develop the next tier of nations. Since then several nations have made or will make their top-level debuts, paramount to growing the women’s game in more countries.
New teams such as Hungary and Denmark, who were promoted to the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Canada, appear on the stage.
photo: Laszlo Mudra

8. Jenni Hiirikoski named Directorate Best Defenceman for 7th time

A sure Hall of Famer once she retires, Finnish defenceman Jenni Hiirikoski is an annual recipient of various end-of-tournament awards. The smooth-skating blueliner has been named IIHF Directorate Best Defenceman a record seven times, most recently this past year when she was also named tournament MVP. Regardless of nationality, she is the best defenceman in the women’s game, and has been for years.
Finnish star Jenni Hiirikoski shakes hands after a game at the recent 2019 Women’s Worlds.
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images

7. Hayley Wickenheiser inducted by IIHF and HHOF

By the time she retired in 2016, Hayley Wickenheiser was the all-time leader in almost every major category at the Women’s Worlds and Olympic women’s ice hockey, but more important she raised the bar for dedication to her sport, training, and development. It is no surprise that she was inducted into both the IIHF Hall of Fame in May 2019 and the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto this past November.
Canadian legend Hayley Wickenheiser was inducted both into the IIHF Hall of Fame and the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images

6. Finland beats Canada, Sweden demoted at WW 2019

Last year’s Women’s Worlds produced two historic results. In the semi-finals, Finland beat Canada, 4-2, advancing to its first ever gold-medal game and forcing Canada to settle for a bronze medal (after beating Russia, 7-0). Equally shocking was Sweden’s inability to win more than one game in Group B, and by finishing in fourth place after a 3-2 loss to Japan on the final day of the preliminary round it meant the Swedes were relegated to Division I for the first time in the history of the Women’s Worlds – and of any IIHF category! Progress for some is a step back for others.
Ronja Savolainen celebrates with Petra Nieminen and Noora Raty after Finland’s historical 4-2 semi-final win against Canada at the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship on home ice in Espoo.
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images

5. Switzerland wins Olympic bronze in 2014

Entering the third period of the bronze medal game at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, the Swedes held a solid 2-0 lead. But Switzerland played relentless hockey and scored three goals to take the lead. They added an empty netter from Alina Muller, and when Sweden scored in the dying seconds to make it 4-3, that Muller goal proved to be the game winner worth the bronze medals. A stunning upset on the biggest stage.
Swiss goaltender Florence Schelling is swarmed by teammates after a 4-3 bronze medal game win over Sweden at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
photo: Jeff Vinnick / HHOF-IIHF Images

4. U.S. women finally regain Olympic crown

It was considered by many to be an upset when the Americans won Olympic gold in 1998, but Canada reeled off four impressive Olympic golds of its own, dominating the event between 2002 and 2014. Fate looked to be on their side again in PyeongChang as they led 2-1 midway through the third period, but the U.S. tied the game and forced overtime. That settled nothing, but Jocelyne Lamoureux netted the winner in the penalty-shot shootout to give her country a remarkable gold that was heard ‘round the United States.
Team USA’s Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scores the golden goal against Canadian goaltender Shannon Szabados at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images

3. Unified Korean women’s team plays in PyeongChang

When it was first announced that Korea would be given automatic entry to the 2018 Olympics, many people were fearful the men’s and women’s ice hockey teams would lose by horrible scores. That didn’t happen, but more important the IIHF managed to negotiate with the two Koreas in the north and in the south for the women’s team to comprise of players from both sides of the ceasefire line. This was an historic event of major political importance, and when the players did not only walk side by side at the Opening Ceremonies as a Unified Team but even played as such on the same team sharing the same dressing room in front of high politicians from north and south, the world took notice. A book commemorating the Unified Korean women’s ice hockey team can be bought here.
The players of the Unified Korean women’s ice hockey team celebrate a goal against Japan during the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images

2. U.S. women threaten strike to gain respect

Of course, the American women were delighted that the 2017 Women’s Worlds were being held on home ice, in Plymouth, Michigan, but they were anything but pleased with their financial arrangement with USA Hockey. Weeks before the start, they threatened a boycott if their contracts were not renegotiated in a respectful manner. A staring match ensued, but the women were adamant, and just before the first game USA Hockey relented and gave the women much better financial circumstances under which to train and play. It was gutsy. The world took notice. Oh, and Hilary Knight scored the golden goal in OT against Canada. All’s well that ends well.
Golden goal scorer Hilary Knight and her U.S. teammates threatened to boycott playing at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship on home ice due to unsatisfactory conditions.
photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images

1. Canada wins Olympic gold with miracle finish

The North American rivals have played many thrilling and dramatic games, but surely none comes close to the gold medal game at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. Katey Stone’s U.S. team played flawlessly through 40 minutes and built a seemingly impenetrable 2-0 lead early in the third, and as time wound down it seemed certain the game would end that way. But late in the game Canadian Brianne Jenner took a harmless shot that hit an American player in the knee and bounced into the net. 2-1. Canada pulled goalie Shannon Szabados for the extra attacker, but a mix-up with a linesman at the U.S. blue line gave the Americans a shot at the empty net. The puck trickled slowly and slowly…and…hit the post! Canada sped back up ice, time almost expired – and Marie-Philip Poulin scored. 2-2. In overtime, Poulin got the winner on a power play that might have been called a penalty shot instead. It was her second Olympic gold game winner and ended arguably the greatest women’s game ever played. The full game can be watched here.
Number 1: Marie-Philip Poulin shows her Olympic gold medal.
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images