U SPORTS WHKY: Haley Irwin Announces Retirement From National Women’s Team

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on ThePuckAuthority.com on June 3rd. Haley Irwin is an assistant coach with the Ryerson Rams of the OUA.

Toronto, ON- After winning two Olympic gold medals while winning another at the Women’s World Championship, Hockey Canada announced on Wednesday Hailey Irwin’s retirement from the National Women’s Team.

Haley hit the stage with Team Canada for the very first time in 2009 when she was named to the country’s roster for the Women’s World Championship in Hämeenlinna, Finland. That came after winning the title with the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs back in 2008. It was only her second season in the NCAA where she was later named captain. As well, at the end of season, Irwin was named the conference’s rookie of the year.

Fast forward to 2010, Haley Irwin had her talents acknowledged when she was selected to the Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. This was just her starting point, being named twice more through the remainder of her career. That included back-to-back gold medals which she won in Vancouver and later on in Sochi, Russia.

Irwin with her Olympic medals (The Ryersonian)

Prior to her appearance in Sochi, Irwin was named twice more to the National Women’s Team for the Women’s World Championship. Back in 2011, the series was hosted in Zurich, Switzerland. Following that, she also played in Vermont where Team Canada was led by head coach Dan Church. There, she got to play with the likes of Caroline Ouellette, Hayley Wickenheiser and Jayna Hefford. Taking to the ice in Burlington, the National Women’s Team rose up, winning gold.

After the momentous victory, Irwin made her debut in the CWHL. She played with the Montreal Stars before having been traded to the Calgary Inferno. Speaking of which, Irwin would top off her first season in the nation’s capital where Team Canada won silver.

Following her third year of pro hockey, Irwin got her last shot at Worlds, being named to Team Canada for the series in Michigan. There, she accepted a silver, just as she did on three separate occasions. This included the last time she played, back in 2013, 2011 and 2009.

Harry How/Getty Images North America

Once she parted ways with the Inferno, Irwin concluded her Olympic term, having been named a final time to PyeongChang. Competing in South Korea, Canada fell to the U.S. in the gold medal game, accepting silver instead. Securing gold since 2002, the loss snapped Canada’s win streak of four consecutive winter games.

Taking large breaks with the National Team between 2013 and 2017, Irwin was cautiously sidelined after suffering a concussion and requiring hip surgery. Surfing through her final statistics, Irwin scored 38 goals and 42 assists in 108 career games.

In a statement from Gina Kingsbury, now director of Women’s National Teams, she said of Haley Irwin’s accomplishments, “Haley was always driven to win and fiercely competitive, which is why she was so successful.” She knew this as Haley’s teammate and even more-so now with Hockey Canada.

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Today, Haley joins Lisa Haley as assistant coach with the Ryerson Rams. Having just completed her first season, the women’s team secured a playoff spot, but only to fall in the McCaw Cup semi-finals. Coming just short of Toronto, the Varsity Blues would go on to defeat the York Lions for the OUA title.

Speaking of the correlation between Haley’s game and now her work with the Rams, Kingsbury said, “Her ability to read the game was a large part of that success and will no doubt be with her as pursues a coaching career.”

All in all, Haley walks away with three gold medals to go alongside five silvers. Discussing what drove her success and where her love for the game really started, Haley said, “Hockey has been my passion since I was a young girl and I feel very fortunate to have been able to wear the Maple Leaf and represent this amazing country we live in. Hockey has taught me so many valuable lessons, given me so many amazing experiences and helped shape the person I am today.”

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press

Irwin hangs the jersey and skates while walking away with a lifetime of memories. As per the official press release, she retires among the top 20 all-time scorers, compiling 80 points with Canada’s National Women’s Team. Looking back at what the women’s game afforded her, Irwin concluded her statement in saying, “Playing for Team Canada was an honour and a dream come true and I will carry it with me for the rest of my life.”

Leave a Reply