The 2013 IIHF Women’s Worlds has helped to solidify Jayna Hefford’s legacy as one of the greatest to don the Canadian jersey. The April 8 semifinal contest against a vastly improved Russian squad signified the historic contest for Hefford.
After a first period that saw Canada hold a 2-0 lead, the squad ended the game with a convincing 8-1 win. With the victory, Canada is going into their 15th consecutive appearance in the IIHF Women’s Gold Medal game.
During the 2013 Women’s Worlds, Hefford also managed two other remarkable milestones. On April 3, 2013, Hefford became the all-time games played leader in the history of the Canadian national women’s team. The old record was 247, set by Hayley Wickenheiser. Canada won that game 13-0 versus a struggling Switzerland squad as the match signified number 248 for Hefford.
The other milestone for Hefford is serving as team captain. After an injury to team captain Wickenheiser on April 2 (opening night versus the United States), Hefford was named captain for the remainder of the tournament.
Also serving as captain for the Brampton Thunder in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League, the 2013 Worlds have marked the first time that a CWHL captain has served as a Team Canada captain. (Past captains Cassie Campbell and Hayley Wickenheiser never competed in the CWHL.).
In Hefford’s storied career, the city of Ottawa has also signified another remarkable milestone. In a January 1, 2010 contest (a match against the United States leading into the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games), Hefford competed in her 200th match. Her legend only grew after scoring the game-winning goal in the New Year's Day tilt against Jessie Vetter in the shootout.
Despite being the oldest player on the team (born in 1977), Hefford is an ageless wonder. Watching her grace the ice is like watching Nolan Ryan on the diamond or George Blanda on the gridiron. As Canada looks to enter the 2014 Sochi Winter Games on remarkable momentum, there is no question that Jayna Hefford (it will mark her fifth Winter Games if she is named to the roster that competes in Sochi) will remain the heartbeat one of the world’s finest women’s hockey teams.