Wickenheiser wins Bobbie Rosenfield Award

Hayley Wickenheiser was named the Canadian Press female athlete of the year on Thursday.

Hayley Wickenheiser was named the Canadian Press female athlete of the year on Thursday.

The native of Shaunavon, Sask., becomes the first hockey player to win the annual honour, voted on by sports editors and broadcasters across Canada.

"You have to give credit to the people you play with," Wickenheiser said. "We've had a lot of success over the years. Thisis an important step for our team.

"It's a nice recognition for sure."

Wickenheiser inherited the captaincy from retiring Cassie Campbell and led Canada in reclaiming the world championship from the United States with eight goals and six assists in five games in Winnipeg in April.

She was named top forward by the International Ice Hockey Federation and most valuable player of the tournament.

Wickenheiser, 29, then scored eight points in four games as Canada captured the Four Nations Cup in Sweden in November.

Wickenheiser will head to training camp in January as Canada prepares to defend the championship in Harbin, China, in April.

She was on the verge of signing a professional contract with a Swedish men's Division 1 club in September, but the deal fell through at the last moment. Despite an offer from another Swedish club, Wickenheiser decided to return to Canada.

Speedskater Cindy Klassen, winner of the award the past two years, finished second, with freestyle skier Jennifer Heil third. Wickenheiser finished with 138 points and 29 first-place votes.

The award is named after Bobbie Rosenfeld, who was named Canada's female athlete of the first half-century in 1950.

The Canadian Press will announce its team of the year on Friday.