Jayna Hefford, Gillian Apps and Catherine Ward celebrate their gold medal at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Canadian women’s hockey icon Jayna Hefford has announced her retirement from the game. At 38, Hefford is second all-time in games, goals and points for Team Canada and has won four Olympic gold medals. Apps, 31, and Ward, 28, retire having won multiple Olympic gold medals.
When Team Canada takes the ice to defend its Olympic gold medal in Pyeongchang, South Korea, they’ll have to do so without the help of three women who have won a combined nine Olympic golds.
Jayna Hefford, Gillian Apps and Catherine Ward each announced their retirement from competitive hcokey Thursday, which means they won’t be back when the Canadian squad attempts to win its fifth consecutive Olympic gold.
Hefford, 38, is one of the greatest women’s players to ever lace up the skates and it’s hard to imagine what Team Canada will look like without her.
Her first appearance in a major international tournament was at the 1997 World Women’s Championships. In what would be foreshadowing for the rest of her international career, Canada won gold at the tournament.
At the World Championships, Hefford would go on to capture six more gold medals as a member of Team Canada. One of her best performances came when she notched seven goals and 10 points in the 2004 tournament on home soil.
Over her career, she suited up for 267 games for Team Canada, second only to Hayley Wickenheiser. Hefford ends her career as the second-highest scoring woman in Canadian international history, notching 123 goals and 223 points in international play.
"You're proud of the victories and the Olympic medals, but on a personal note, I'm proud of the longevity I had and the consistency within that longevity," Hefford told The Canadian Press.
One of Hefford’s crowning achievements came at the 2002 Olympic games in Salt Lake City, Utah. In the gold medal contest against Canada’s top rival, Team USA, Hefford scored the game- and gold medal-winning goal in a 5-2 Canadian victory. Her final medal count includes four Olympic gold, one Olympic silver, seven World Championship gold, five World Championship silver and gold at the 2010 4 Nations Cup.
Apps, 31, walks away having won three Olympic gold medals and having piled up 50 goals and 100 points in 164 international outings. The granddaughter of Hall of Famer Syl Apps, she began her Team Canada career in 2004 on the same note as Hefford: with a gold at the World Championships.
Apps added two more World Championship gold and five World Championship silver medals to her trophy case, as well as gold and silver medals at the 4 Nations Cup in 2010 and 2011, respectively.
"I was lucky enough to come in as a young kid and stay for quite awhile," Apps told The Canadian Press. "As the years went on in different Olympics, I had many different roles. I just adapted to whatever I was asked to do.”
Ward is the youngest of the bunch to hang up their skates, as she only recently turned 28. A graduate of McGill, Ward first suited up for Team Canada at the 2007 MLP Nations Cup in Germany. Her performance there in 2007 and 2008 would lead to a spot with Team Canada at the 2009 World Championship, where Canada would finish with a silver medal.
Having secured a spot on the roster, Ward went on to capture gold at the 2010 and 2014 Olympic games and added a World Championship gold to her resume in 2012. She also captured two additional World Championship silver medals in 2011 and 2013.
From 2009 to 2014, Ward skated in 30 games for Team Canada, scoring three goals and 20 points.