Cool facts about women’s hockey stars
by Lucas Aykroyd|11 FEB 2022
There's more to Finnish captain Jenni Hiirikoski than what women's hockey fans see on the ice.
photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
The 2022 Olympics are shining the global spotlight on women’s hockey. Yet even as this sport continues to grow in popularity, with close to 210,000 registered players worldwide, there’s still always more to learn about it. Getting to know about the biggest stars both as players and people just makes it even more fun.

Here are five things you might not know about some active and retired IIHF women’s hockey legends, on and off the ice.

1) Canada’s Golden Girls Hold a Remarkable Record

If you want, you could call them “The Triumphant Trio.” To date, Canada has never won an Olympic women’s hockey gold medal without Jayna Hefford, Caroline Ouellette, and Hayley Wickenheiser in the lineup. They won four straight in Salt Lake City (2002), Turin (2006), Vancouver (2010), and Sochi (2014).

To name just a few exploits by these legendary forwards, Hefford notched the eventual 2002 Olympic gold-medal winner on a late second-period breakaway against the host Americans, while Wickenheiser – the all-time Olympic scoring leader – was named tournament MVP in 2002 and 2006. In both 2006 and 2010, their Canadian teams never trailed or were even tied.
Hefford, Ouellette, and Wickenheiser’s impact on the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship was also incredible. Out of the 21 times that tournament has taken place, Canada has won gold just three times without at least one of them in the lineup (1990, 1992, 2021). Talk about longevity and prowess! It will be fascinating to see if Canada can capture gold in Beijing without their help.

2) Hiirikoski Has An Artistic Side

Finnish captain Jenni Hiirikoski is mainly known for being named Best Defenceman at two Olympics (2014, 2018) and seven Women’s Worlds (2009, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019). However, the 34-year-old superstar also appreciates the visual and performing arts.

It goes well beyond the house painting and interior decorating business she ran in Finland before moving to Sweden to lead Lulea HF.
Hiirikoski has had “1998 Nagano,” “2010 Vancouver,” and “2018 PyeongChang” sewn into her gloves to represent the three Olympic bronze medals Finland has won. On her right leg, she has an detailed tattoo of a lioness and a cub, which, she told the Olympic Channel, symbolizes how she has become a mother figure for younger players on the Naisleijonat (Female Lions).

And if you want to check out the Tampere Deck Arena after it co-hosts the men’s 2022 IIHF World Championship with Helsinki, buy tickets to Lumikuningatar (The Snow Queen). The fairy tale-themed figure skating show (30 December 2022 to 1 January 2023) features Hiirikoski as well as Finnish hockey luminaries like Markko Anttila and Niklas Hagman.

3) Coyne Schofield’s First Jersey Number Will Surprise You

If you haven’t read Kendall Coyne Schofield’s new autobiography As Fast As Her (released on 18 January), you’ll probably never guess what her first jersey number was.

A 2017 USA Hockey article discusses the number the diminutive, ultra-speedy American captain currently sports: “[Amanda] Pelkey and Coyne both point to former NHL star Martin St. Louis as inspiration, with Coyne even wearing his No. 26 with the national team. The 5-foot-8 forward, who played with Calgary, the New York Rangers, and won a Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay, scored 1,033 points in 1,134 games.”
However, before Coyne – a 2018 Olympic champion and six-time Women’s Worlds gold medalist – was even in kindergarten, she chose a jersey number associated with one of the biggest, most intimidating NHLers of all time: “Grandpa Coyne – who we called Papa – gave me my very first hockey bag, which had the number 88 on it for NHL Hall of Famer Eric Lindros. I had seen older players at the rink with their jersey number on their hockey bag. When it came time to pick my very first hockey number, I already knew exactly which one I wanted – 88 – because it was on the hockey bag Papa gave me.”

4) James Also Achieved Success in Roller Hockey

Some of the top 2022 Olympic stars have earned international medals in roller (inline) hockey, from Czech captain Alena Mills to Finnish veteran Susanna Tapani. However, not many people know that Canada’s Angela James – one of the first three women inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame (2008) along with fellow Canadian Geraldine Heaney and U.S. captain Cammi Granato – also starred in roller hockey.

In 1993, James and Heaney joined longtime Toronto Aeros coach Ken Dufton at the roller hockey world championship in Germany. The Canadians weren’t favored to go far, but with James’ leadership, they made off with the gold medal. The power forward didn’t just thrive on wheels instead of blades – she even got nicknamed “Maradona” by the fans in attendance, a reference to Argentinean football legend Diego Maradona.
It was just another remarkable feat for this four-time world champion and Black hockey pioneer, whose omission from the 1998 silver-medal Canadian Olympic team remains one of the most baffling mistakes in this sport’s history.

5) Lamoureux Twins Pulled a Classic Prank in College

When you think of Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando, you probably flash back to the decisive role these twin American superstars played in the 2018 Olympic gold medal game. Monique scored the third-period equalizer on a breakaway against Canada and Jocelyne got the shootout winner with a creative move that fooled netminder Shannon Szabados.

Yet a prank the Lamoureuxs pulled off during the 2012-13 NCAA season – when they were playing for the University of North Dakota in their hometown of Grand Forks – is noteworthy because it reflects how small the women’s hockey world is.
For some context, their UND teammates that season included stars like Finland’s Michelle Karvinen and Denmark’s Josefine Jakobsen – both 2022 Olympians. They honed their skills under associate head coach Peter Elander, who coached his native Sweden to a stunning silver medal at the 2006 Winter Games and is behind the Danish bench here in Beijing.

However, the joke was on UND head coach Brian Idalski, who now doubles as the coach of the KRS Vanke Rays in the Russian Women’s Hockey League and of the Chinese Olympic team.

The Lamoureuxs described what happened in their 2021 joint autobiography Dare to Make History: Chasing a Dream and Fighting for Equity: “One day Monique was able to get Coach Idalski’s car keys before practice. She, along with [two other teammates], waited for Coach to arrive at the rink, and then they got in the car and drove it down the bus ramp and through the Zamboni doors and parked it at center ice. We kept the lights off in the rink until Coach Idalski came out onto the ice. Without cracking a smile, he firmly said, ‘Practice still starts at eight.’ We hurried to get the car off the ice, unsure if he thought this prank was funny.”

Since retiring from women’s hockey, the Lamoureuxs have stayed busy as speakers, gender equity advocates, and mothers. They’re still firmly in the driver’s seat.