Vaclav Nedomansky's defection paved way for many NHLers:

He might not be the most recognizable name going into the Hockey Hall of Fame this year, however as Rob Pizzo reveals, his path to get there was the hardest. 3:13

Okay for a woman who utilized to slink into the arena, hoping to go unnoticed, to play a video game that belonged, at the time, to kids and men.

"I remember having a great deal of stress and anxiety going to the rink," says Wickenheiser, 41. "I didn't wish to handle people going, 'Oh, there's the girl.'

"I was a home-changer or I would alter in a restroom stall or wherever they would put me. I had a lot of tension."

With her hair interrupted to prevent detection, she regularly hustled to the dressing space to join the kids on her group-- pretending to not hear the spoken barbs along the method.

"When I got on the ice, I felt complimentary, since no one could touch me there," she says. "It was my safe place. I felt like I was excellent. I belonged."

Did she ever-- much to the chagrin of some moms and dads of kids on the opposing groups.

"I believe it was a lot of abuse because I was a good player from a young age," she states. "So I did attract a lot of attention to myself. I heard and saw a lot of stuff that I would hope today a little lady playing with young boys wouldn't have to go through."

From a young age, Wickenheiser displayed a tenacity in tough times that serves her to this day as a student in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary, and as assistant director of gamer advancement for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

(Tom Hanson/Canadian Press )" I remember stepping off the ice, and I was the very first to open the dressing room door, "she says."And there's Wayne Gretzky and Kevin Lowe standing there."I in fact just took a 2nd and thought,' Wow. This is a full-circle minute.'I grew up idolizing these men, and there they were standing in our room that day."The list below year, Wickenheiser ended up being the first female to play full-time expert males's hockey at a position other than goalie. Suiting up for Salamat, a

club in Finland's third division, she gathered two goals and 11 points in 23 games."I'm proud of that experience,"states Wickenheiser, who likewise played guys's hockey in Sweden later on in her profession."I wished to see how far I might go and how high I could play.

" In 2007, Wickenheiser ended up being the very first woman to play professionally with males in a forward position when she signed up with Arboga of the Swedish men's 3rd division. (Associated Press)

To that end, the five-foot-nine, 176-pound Wickenheiser often trained with NHLers including Martin Gelinas, now an assistant coach with the Calgary Flames.

"She would do everything that we did plus more," Gelinas says. "We used to go on the ice and practise. And certainly there's the size difference in between women, and males, however she would be in the battles. That's who she is. She wished to be the finest. She became the finest, due to the fact that she put in the time and the effort. She paid the cost."

At the 2006 Turin Olympics, Wickenheiser in some way potted 5 goals and gathered 12 helps with a fractured elbow. Then, at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, she registered 5 points in five video games skating on a damaged foot.

"The elbow wasn't bad-- it was simply freeze and go," she says. "The foot was bad. I had two surgical treatments after those Olympics, consisting of foot reconstruction surgery.

"The foot didn't trouble me that much in my boot. I simply needed to modify my training. You handle those things."

These days, Wickenheiser is a master of managing her time between the rigours of medical school and her work for the Maple Leafs. Over the next three days, she plans to take a moment or two to show and breathe on the magnitude of the occasion.

"The Hockey Hall of Fame is not something that I imagined maturing," she says. "Quite truthfully, I saw it as an older, white male group that only permitted in NHL gamers.

"Now I see the Hockey Hall of Fame as something much more inclusive. I think it simply shows the development of the game and how far hockey has actually come.

"So, what I'll be thinking about when I stand there is all the ladies who came prior to me who pushed tough to have this occur one day."

Teammates say Wickenheiser's physicality - along with her slapshot-changed the women's game.(Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)On Monday, she will end up being only the seventh woman given entry to the Hockey Hall of Fame, signing up with Cammi Granato, Angela James, Geraldine Heaney, Angela Ruggiero, Jayna Hefford and Danielle Goyette."When Hayley entered into the video game, her slapshot was her strength,"says Goyette, who

used Canada's first line with Wickenheiser."The women's game had actually never ever seen a shot like that prior to."In 2017, Wickenheiser retired as the all-time leading scorer for Canada with 168 objectives and 211 assists in 276 games over 23 years. Her resume includes 4 Olympic gold medals and seven world champion titles. Player comparisons are hard, but it's fair to call Wickenheiser the Mark Messier of women's hockey."She was a power forward with

a great shot,"Goyette says."She might put the puck in the net and make plays, however, at the very same time, she was so physical.

She was not scared to enter the corner, get the puck and do something with it."She altered the video game. Prior to she occurred, the women's video game wasn't almost as physical." Wickenheiser signed up with the national group at age 15.

She was in Grade 10 at the time and roomed with veteran Margot Page, a Grade 10 math instructor."

Those ladies were super gracious and excellent leaders for me, "Wickenheiser says." The players of that period were working full-time jobs.

I saw how in shape they were and how they would train at odd hours. I think that truly affected my profession."Wickenheiser won a silver medal with Canada in 1998 in Nagano, however it probably wasn't up until the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City that she became a home name. Burned in our collective memories from those Olympics are her impressive rink-side rant--"the Americans had our flag on the floor in their dressing space, and now I want to know if they want us to

sign it "-- and her triumph lap with son Noah nestled in her arms. Wickenheiser was signed up with by her child Noah after defeating the U.S. to win gold at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. "I remember having a lot of stress and anxiety going to the rink," states Wickenheiser, 41. Teammates state Wickenheiser's physicality - as well as her slapshot-altered the females's game. Player comparisons are hard, however it's reasonable to call Wickenheiser the Mark Messier of ladies's hockey. The list below year, Wickenheiser became the first female to play full-time expert guys's hockey at a position other than goalie."I'm happy of that experience,"states Wickenheiser, who likewise played men's hockey in Sweden later on in her profession.