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Biography & Autobiography Sports

Over the Boards

Lessons from the Ice

by (author) Hayley Wickenheiser

Penguin Group Canada
Initial publish date
Oct 2021
Sports, Hockey, Inspiration & Personal Growth
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2021
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2022
    List Price

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“Hayley Wickenheiser is an incredible human being . . . this is what a billion hours of hard work looks like.”
—Ryan Reynolds
The greatest women’s hockey player of all time, Hayley Wickenheiser shares the lessons that won her four Olympic gold medals, and hard-earned wisdom distilled from moments when she fell short.

There is no one in the world like Hayley Wickenheiser.

13 World Championship appearances. 6 Olympic Games. Hockey Hall of Famer. All while raising a child, earning multiple university degrees, and not benefiting from the financial stability male professional athletes have. She gave the game everything she had—now, Hayley shares what the game gave her.

From motherhood to pro leagues to her new career in medicine, Hayley shares the hard-won lessons she learned on and off the ice that helped her not only have a record-breaking hockey career but craft a life filled with joy, growth, and challenges. In her own words, Hayley shares how she rose from the backyard pond and changing in boiler rooms (because girls' dressing rooms didn’t exist) to Olympic MVP (twice). How becoming a parent made her a better athlete. How she learned to thrive under monumental pressure. But she doesn’t stop at revealing the pillars to her tremendous success—Hayley delves into her immense failures and how she grew from them. Like Kobe Bryant, Tom Brady, and Abby Wambach before her, Hayley shares her wisdom through personal stories of triumph, relentlessness, and more than a couple confrontations. Told with humour, compassion, and steadfast optimism, Hayley’s practical advice, coaching, and invaluable perspective inspires readers to never accept “that’s not the way we do things” or “that hasn’t been done before” as limitations. An empowering and pragmatic guide, Hayley encourages readers to not follow in her footsteps, but to carve their own ice.

About the author


Hayley Wickenheiser is the captain of the Canadian women's hockey team. Besides her four Olympic medals, she owns six World Cup gold medals and two silver. Wickenheiser was born in Shaunavon, Saskatchewan, where the local sportsplex has been renamed in her honour. She lives in Calgary, Alberta.


Hayley Wickenheiser's profile page

Excerpt: Over the Boards: Lessons from the Ice (by (author) Hayley Wickenheiser)

This book was born from that day in the ER. In the panic that overwhelmed me when the call came in, I realized that I’d been there before. Not in a life or death situation, but in a high-pressure one. And I knew how to handle pressure. I’d been training for it for more than two decades.
Obviously, treating a teenaged overdose victim has higher stakes than an Olympic final. When you have a human life in your hands, the decisions you make are crucial. It’s a very different type and degree of pressure. But the strategies I’d honed on the ice—focus, teamwork, leadership—were just as useful in the ER.
The game of hockey has given me a lot—more than I ever gave it. It provided me a beautiful son, a purpose, a satisfying career, and lifelong friends. But more than that, my time in hockey prepared me for everything that came next, with key lessons and strategies that I use outside the parameters of the game clock. That’s what these pages contain: the lessons I have learned throughout my career. When I realized that the skills I had learned in hockey were transferable to my career in medi­cine, I got to thinking that they could be useful for other people as well.
I’ve been super lucky. Early in my life, I found something that I loved to do, and I was able to earn a living doing it. Being passionate about my work has been key to my success. It gave me inspiration each day, allowing me to keep working hard, to continue pushing my game, my speed, my shot, my fitness level. It was never about the salary or even medals. I loved the training every bit as much as I did the games. I was happiest when I was sweating through a bike ride or doing sprints in the pool. I loved the pain, the burning sensation in the pit of my lungs.
Looking back, I realize I was able to achieve all that I have by applying hard work and passion to everything that I did. That’s what I really want to convey with this book. You don’t have to be born with innate talent or skill—that will only take you so far. What you need to achieve your own best, the passion and perse­verance, is already inside you.
There was one other reason I wanted to put pen to paper. Being female in male-dominated fields like hockey and medi­cine isn’t easy. I want anyone who has been judged as less capable because of their gender to know that I’ve waded through the same bullshit as them. If my words make things a little bit easier for them or help them see that if I can do it, they can, too, it will have been worth it. We all need a little inspiration from time to time.
A lot of these lessons I learned the hard way. Take advantage of my mistakes, please! Learn from them so you can go out and make new ones. This book isn’t just for athletes or medical pro­fessionals. We’re all juggling multiple roles. We get swept up by heady expectations. We feel weighed down by our packed sched­ules. These lessons helped me get where I am and get through
the challenges I’ve faced. I hope you can use them to help you achieve your own dreams.
Old habits die hard (which is why you have to build good ones—you’ll get to that chapter), and it made the most sense to me to organize these lessons into three zones, like the game of hockey. You won’t get far without a solid foundation and trusted systems, which is what the defensive zone covers; the neutral zone leans more towards learning to get comfortable being uncomfort­able; and the offensive zone is where you capitalize, where you let fly and score. That’s how I think about the lessons and my life, anyway. This book covers everything from when I was trying to claw my way to the top to the day I hung up my skates. A few lessons I learned off the ice have snuck in as well.
What you’re not going to find in these pages are tired clichés about following your dreams. I’m a very practical person, and I like tangible ideas that can be executed. A lot of people beat around the bush. I’m a straight shooter. I don’t sugar-coat things. I think it’s important to be direct and say what you mean.
And for better or for worse, I always have.

Editorial Reviews

“Hayley—now Doctor—Wickenheiser shares grit and determination, along with anecdotes you won’t see on TSN or Sportsnet, in her fabulous new book Over the Boards: Lessons from the Ice. This page-turning offering from someone who knows how to win at the highest level and how to take loss as a great opportunity to grow and improve is for everyone. Read and learn how #22 continues to do it all—and do it well. There are so many elements of this champion’s methods you can add to your own life.”
—Clara Hughes, O.C., O.M., 6 x Olympic medalist, author of Open Heart, Open Mind
“Hayley Wickenheiser is an incredible human being . . . this is what a billion hours of hard work looks like.”
—Ryan Reynolds
"Over the Boards is an absolute must read sports memoir."
—Daily Hive

“A detailed and rare look at greatness—one of Canada’s most decorated athletes pulls back the veil on what propelled her to the top. Hayley Wickenheiser has written the playbook of all playbooks. Over the Boards: Lessons from the Ice is for anyone who wants to win in any industry from business to science to sports to the arts. But what makes this book a gem is how it prepares you for success in the most important and formidable arena of all: life.”
—Perdita Felicien, Olympian and author of My Mother’s Daughter
"An enjoyable and memorable read for all hockey fans, whether you’re more interested in the nitty-gritty details of Wickenheiser’s four Olympic gold medal runs or the opportunity for self-improvement."

“Hayley is a world-class athlete with a world-class mind, and leadership skills to match. And now she’s an MD. When she has something to say, people should listen.”
—Brian Burke, president of hockey operations of the Pittsburgh Penguins and bestselling author of Burke’s Law
Over the Boards: Wickenheiser reminds us that we have the power to do more and to become more in our lives.”
—Karl Subban, author of How We Did It
“I have looked up to Hayley Wickenheiser as someone who has been inspiring Canadians on and off the ice for many years. In Over the Boards, Hayley gives you a peek into the lessons and philosophies that helped make her the leader she is. From insights and advice on competing each day, leading from the heart, and, of course, leaving a legacy, you will find yourself equipped to take on whatever challenges lay ahead.”
—Harnarayan Singh, Hockey Night in Canada commentator and bestselling author of One Game at a Time

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