Updated with quotes from Jayna Hefford
The Thunder organization sends its warm congratulations to Thunder legend and former captain Jayna Hefford on the announcement that she will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in November 2018. Hefford represented the Thunder, Canada, and the game of hockey exceptionally, bringing excitement, commitment, leadership and professionalism every time she stepped on the ice in her storied career.
“When I received the call it was much more emotional than I expected. I knew I was eligible, but I tried not to have too many expectations,” said Hefford. “When Lanny MacDonald and John Davidson congratulated me, I felt really proud and humbled to receive such an honour. I very quickly started to think about what it would mean to my family and friends – and how much they were all a part of this journey.”
Hefford was a member of the Thunder from 1998-2007 in the original NWHL and from 2007-2013 in the CWHL. She appeared in 349 regular season games and 39 post-season games in 14 seasons. Hefford is the Thunder’s all-time scoring leader with 234 points (130 goals, 104 assists) during the organization’s time in the CWHL alone. She was a member of the Thunder team that won the first CWHL Championship in 2007-2008, also won MVP honours in that season, and in 2008-2009 captured the Angela James Bowl as the league’s top scorer. Hefford was the first player in CWHL history to reach the 100 point mark, and held the record for most goals (130) until it was broken this season (five seasons since she retired from the league) by Caroline Ouellette and Noemie Marin of les Canadiennes. Since 2016, the CWHL has awarded the Jayna Hefford Trophy to the season’s MVP as voted by the players – an honour that was bestowed upon current Thunder forward Jamie Lee Rattray this past season.
“Playing for the Thunder was such such an important part of my career. We had teams and players that pushed each other to be better and always wanted to achieve excellence. We also had a culture that instilled working hard, but having a lot of fun too,” recalled Hefford. “The time I spent with the Thunder were some of my best hockey memories – I had so many teammates that are great friends and people I really value in my life still today.”
Internationally, Hefford has accumulated four gold medals and one silver in five Olympic appearances and seven gold medals in 12 World Championships. Though she retired from the Canadian Women’s National Team in 2015, Hefford still ranks second in program history for games played (267), goals (157) and points (291).
Hefford’s connection to the Thunder remains strong – even after the organization’s relocation to Markham. Her impact is still felt throughout the team as Liz Knox, Laura McIntosh, and Dania Simmonds played with her in Brampton, while Laura Fortino and Jocelyne Larocque won an Olympic gold medal alongside her in 2014. Hefford continues to help grow the game, hosting hockey camps and attending Thunder events where she inspires every young player she encounters.
“There is no one who deserves the honour of being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame more than Jayna,” said Knox. “She is the kind of player that makes everyone around her better, and the type of teammate that makes playing sports amazing – gracious in times of success, and humble in times of growth. I am beyond proud to be able to call her a teammate and a friend.”
Hefford is the sixth woman to be inducted as a player, following Angela James, Cammi Granato, Geraldine Heaney, Angela Ruggiero, and Danielle Goyette.