Wickenheiser to carry flag for Canada at Sochi Olympics

Canadian captain Hayley Wickenheiser (middle) celebrates with teammates Tessa Bonhomme and Haley...

Canadian captain Hayley Wickenheiser (middle) celebrates with teammates Tessa Bonhomme and Haley Irwin after beating the U.S. in the women's hockey gold-medal game at the Vancouver Olympics in this file photo from February 25, 2010. (REUTERS/Todd Korol/Files)

Jon Willing, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:37 PM ET

OTTAWA - Hayley Wickenheiser will lead Canada's Olympians into Fisht Stadium next month but it's impossible to compound the pressure already felt by any hockey player who wears the maple leaf.

"I don't believe in the curse of the flag bearer," Wickenheiser said Thursday during a conference call with journalists after the Canadian Olympic Committee announced the three-time gold medalist will carry the flag during the opening ceremonies of the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

"The pressure that we feel is the pressure that always comes with playing hockey as a Canadian hockey player, whether you're male or female. The country expects a gold medal, so whether I carry the flag or not I'm pretty sure our team doesn't feel any extra added incentive that there's more pressure to perform, because we feel that already."

Wickenheiser, 35, wasn't at the House of Commons for the announcement but she connected to the event via video from Austria, where the women's hockey team is preparing for the Olympic tournament.

Her friends and family, including her 13-year-old son Noah, were in the House foyer when chef de mission Steve Podborski revealed the hockey star as the flag bearer.


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