Hockey

The Canadian Press - Wednesday Feb. 5, 2014 12:49 ET

Hayley Wickenheiser gets praise from Sidney Crosby

The women's hockey team captain carries Canada's flag on Friday

Hayley Wickenheiser
Hayley Wickenheiser will carry the Canadian flag at the opening ceremonies on Friday.(Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Sidney Crosby's advice to Hayley Wickenheiser when she carries Canada's flag Friday is to "'wave it high and don't trip."

The Canadian men's hockey team captain was among the first of her Olympic teammates to congratulate Wickenheiser following the announcement she would bear the Maple Leaf at the opening ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 10 a.m. ET).

"We were just kidding back and forth and chatting a little bit about what Sochi might be like and what to expect," Wickenheiser said Wednesday following a news conference at the main press centre in Sochi, Russia.

"It was nice for him to reach out and shoot me a text."

The women's hockey forward will be the first of Canada's 220 athletes to enter Fisht Olympic Stadium, although not all Canadian athletes will participate because some are competing Saturday. The men's hockey team arrives Monday.

Canada's goal in Sochi is the win more medals than any other country and "maintain the gain" from 2010. The host team won 26 medals, good for third overall, and the most gold with 14 in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C.

Wickenheiser's former teammate and current assistant coach Danielle Goyette also advised the flag-bearer to stay upright. Goyette was Canada's flag-bearer at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy.

"The first thing I said was 'just make sure you don't trip when you walk in,"' Goyette said.

Seasoned veteran

Goyette also gave Wickenheiser tips on how to wave like the Queen and wave the flag at the same time.

"You just want to make sure it doesn't roll around the post," Goyette said.

Wickenheiser is a seasoned ceremonies veteran as she's marched with the Canadian team in all five of her previous Olympic Games, including the 2000 Summer Games as a member of the softball team.

"A lot of what you remember is the hurry-up-and-wait moments before you actually go into the stadium," she said. "Marching actually goes by quite quickly. If there are friends and family in the stands, you try to pick out where they might be.

"The first Olympics I walked in I think I tried to take a picture every five feet and I missed most of it. This time I won't be doing that."

The choice of Wickenheiser by the Canadian Olympic Committee to carry the flag gives women's hockey team a high profile in a third straight opening ceremonies.

In addition to Goyette carrying the flag in 2006, Wickenheiser recited the athletes' oath at B.C. Place in Vancouver.

Women's hockey continues to be front and centre on Canada's Olympic team. France St. Louis was Wickenheiser's teammate the first time women's hockey was an Olympic sport in 1998. St. Louis is now one of two assistant chef de missions of the Canadian Olympic team in Sochi.

"It's incredible for women's hockey," Wickenheiser stated. "It's great kudos to the game and to the women who play the game and the athletes who have come through hockey in Canada."

The Canadian women open defence of their gold medal Saturday against Switzerland (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 8 a.m. ET).

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