As part of The Players’ Impact blog, we periodically pose entrepreneurial related questions to current and former athletes. Thanks to Hayley Wickenheiser for sitting down with us and sharing her background, her ventures, her shootout skills, and what she likes about TPI.
Off the ice, Hayley’s achievements include: Sports Illustrated number 20 of 25 Toughest Athletes in the World, a two-time finalist for the Women’s Sports Foundation Team Athlete of The Year, named multiple times among the Globe and Mail’s “Power 50” influencers in sport, and named among QMI Agency’s top 10 “Greatest Female Athletes in the History of Sports.” In 2011, Hayley was appointed to the Order of Canada “for her achievements as an athlete and for her contributions to the growth of women’s hockey.” She was inducted to Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2015.
Wickenheiser’s passion for sport is matched by her desire to give back to the community in her work with organizations such as Lace ’Em Up, JumpStart, KidSport, Project North, Right to Play and dozens of other organizations. She has traveled the world to support those efforts, including trips to the furthest northern communities of Canada and as far away as Rwanda and Ghana.
Hayley was born in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan and is a proud mom to her teenaged son, Noah. She has received numerous honourary degrees and graduated with Honours with a Bachelors in Kinesiology from the University of Calgary in 2013. In 2016, Hayley completed her Masters, running a study that is researching the connection between physical activity and the neurology of autistic youth.
2) Well, that’s ridiculously impressive! I’m a bit speechless, but let’s get into some fun questions. What was your first job?
3) What are your favorite memories playing hockey and were there any business lessons you learned during your time in the sport that you have taken with you?
Far too many good memories, so many lessons — probably the biggest is about resiliency and never giving up on yourself!
4) How have you been able to leverage your sports relationships post playing days in business? Is there a player you admire for his/her work off the rink?
I really admire Andrew Ference and the type of athlete/person he is. He is firm in what he believes and as a player was always thinking ahead about life after sport and could manage both.
5) Nice! A familiar face for me in Boston! Tell me a bit more about your latest business ventures. What are you working on?
A few things. First off I am co-owner of www.rockonclay.com which is an Athletic balm made of glacial clay from the rain forests of British Columbia. We have a lot of pro and Olympic athletes using it with great results. I am also CEO of Wick Hockey and we do international development of the game around the world www.wickhockey.com and I run “WickFest’, the largest female hockey festival in the world with over 7,000 people attending every November in Calgary. I am co-chair and investor in Highmark Interactiveand also investor in other companies such as Prosmartsports, DeliverGoodand PlayCityApp…so lots going on!
6) Wow, that’s all incredible. A nice mix of industries and businesses, but all seem right in your wheelhouse. So why do you think more and more athletes are getting more involved as entrepreneurs or startup investors?
I think athletes are comfortable with taking risks, are used to thinking long term and setting goals and admire hard work and effort. Competing in elite sport and investing are very similar. It’s fun, there are no guarantees but the upside is tremendous.
7) What financial tips would you offer younger players reading this?
1. LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS….always!! When you start your career or whether you have millions, live below your means then you are always at peace and not stressed
2.Invest young, even if its 25 a month, starting somewhere it can add up
3. Trust very carefully, make sure you do your homework on who will help you with your finances
4. Educate yourself, read books, watch clips, you are in charge of your money ultimately-don’t be in the dark as to what is going on
5. Spend money on experiences not things :)
8) If you took 10 penalty shots with me as goalie, how many goals would you score? :)
9) What types of startups or markets interest you the most?
I love the fields of tech and medicine so that’s where I would gravitate to. Maybe a combo of both as well as sports wearables and the technology to make those is very interesting to me, but I have a wide range of interests. Sustainability would be one as well.
10) You have been a part of The Players’ Impact (TPI) from early on…what was appealing about TPI?
I love the fact that other athletes who have lived a similar life I have are involved, combined with some very smart VC folks to guide the way. The doors and opportunities as well as the line of thinking align with how I see the world of business as well. Plus its fun!!
This was so much fun! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and looking forward to building this out with you Hayley! Go Canada!
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