“It’s not something I was ever thinking about,” she said. “When you think Hall of Fame you’re thinking about legendary people that have accomplished so much in their life. I didn’t think I was in that realm. I was surprised and flattered to be honoured by my home community. I’m proud of my roots, so it’s an honour to be considered in this way.”
Haley will be one of three builders inducted during this year’s ceremony. She joins Cathy Mason (Special Olympic World Games) and Roy Bennett (posthumous-hockey).
Her most recent accomplishment is helping to coach the Canadian women’s hockey team to Olympic gold in Sochi, but her resume started long before the 2014 Olympics.
She joined the Hockey Canada national program in 2003 and since then has served as an assistant coach five times at the world women’s championship, twice with the U-22 team during the 2003-2005 seasons and once with the U-18 team, winning gold at the 2010 world women’s U-18 championship.
Prior to that she coached the Saint Mary’s Huskies for 14 seasons, leading the school to four AUS championships. Haley was also the head coach of Team Nova Scotia for a number of years before joining Hockey Canada.
Haley recognizes that the list of things she has done is long, but still being an active coach means that she doesn’t have much of an opportunity to look back.
“That’s the thing, you don’t look in the rearview enough,” she said. “You’re chasing the next accomplishment or milestone. I’ve taken some time to reflect on the Olympics, but it will take a long time to get the true appreciation of that. I’m always looking for the next thing and right now that’s with Ryerson and trying to build our team into a contender and hopefully a national champion.”
But all of those opportunities may not have happened if she didn’t suit up for the Westville Miners. Her first coach, Thelma MacDonald, happens to be the person who submitted her Hall of Fame nomination.
“It’s one first things I did, I looked to see who nominated me and who I was being inducted with,” said Haley. “I’m not sure if this is public, but a very special person to me, my first coach, Thelma MacDonald, is who nominated me. She was the reason I got involved in hockey. She encouraged mom and dad to let my sister and I play. I’m excited to speak with her and reminisce when I get home.”
She was also on the first female hockey team from Nova Scotia to compete at the Canada Winter Games in 1991.
Now Haley is back at Ryerson University where she is the head coach of the women’s hockey team. After taking a leave last year to work with the Olympic team she said she’s enjoying being back in Toronto and not moving around the country. She said personally it’s a major benefit as her son completed Grade 3 in three different schools across the country last year.
“We’ve (she and her family) done the university season a lot so we look forward to enjoying, not really a down time because there isn’t any when you’re a full-time coach of a university program, but knowing what to expect,” she said. “It’s nice to know what’s coming around the corner. Having never been involved in the Olympic experience before we didn’t know what to expect, so knowing what the next year will entail is nice.”
The induction ceremony will be held Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Westville Civic Building. This includes a social beginning at 1 p.m., followed by the ceremony at 2 p.m.
“I’m excited to have my family there,” she said. “Since I’m not living at home I don’t get to share my career opportunities with them or it’s not often that they get to go to major tournaments with me, like they weren’t at the Olympics. They’re very supportive and proud of me, so to have an event to share with them is pretty special to me.”
For information on tickets call the Hall of Fame at 902-755-1755 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris