Jayna Hefford (born May 14, 1977) is a women's ice hockey player. Hefford played forward for the Canadian women's team at the Winter Olympics in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010. Her goal in the gold medal game at the 2002 Winter Olympics was the gold medal winning goal.
At the 1994 national under-18 championship, Hefford was part of the gold medal winning Ontario team. In 1995, Hefford participated with the Ottawa Regional Select Team in a series against the U.S. National Under-18 Team. Hefford was the captain of Team Ontario at the 1995 Canada Winter Games.
Hefford played for the Toronto Lady Blues women's ice hockey program, which represented the University of Toronto. In the 1997 OWIAA semifinal, Hefford was part of the Lady Blues squad which defeated the Guelph Gryphons by a 4-1 tally. In that game, Hefford accumulated three helpers. In the 1997 OWIAA gold medal game, scored 23 seconds into overtime and she believed that the goal clinched the gold medal for the Lady Blues. A little-known rule denied Hefford and her teammates the Blues second consecutive title. OWIAA league rules indicated that the first five-minute overtime session in a playoff game must be played in its entirety (as a regular period). It was advised that the game would continue after Hefford's goal and York won the game in the second overtime. Hefford joined former University of Toronto student-athlete Heather Moyse as the only University of Toronto graduates to claim a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.
At the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Hefford ranked second on Team Canada with 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in 5 games on the way to her fourth medal (third gold).
In the 2006 tournament, Hefford scored three goals and added four assists to finish third on the team in scoring and Canada again won the gold medal. It was her second gold medal while participating in her third Olympics. She also won a silver medal with the Canadian team at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.
In the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, Hefford scored the game-winning goal in the gold medal game against Team USA with four seconds remaining in the second period.
Hefford has won the gold in six World Championships – 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004 and 2007. In 1999 and 2000, Hefford was Team Canada’s leading scorer. Her two third period goals in the 2000 championship game pushed the contest into overtime, allowing Canada the opportunity to win. At the 2005 Esso National Women’s Championships, she was named the Best Forward for Group A.
On January 1, 2010, in Ottawa, Ontario, she was honoured before a game versus Team USA for reaching the 200-game plateau in her Team Canada career in November. She would go on to score the lone shootout goal later that night.
In the first game of the 2011 IIHF Eight Nations Tournament, Hefford registered a hat trick in a 16-0 victory over Switzerland. In the third game of the tournament, she scored two goals in an 11-0 shutout over Slovakia. In an exhibition game versus the United States on August 29, 2011, Hefford scored a power play goal, and then scored twice in the shootout as Canada defeated the United States by a 4-3 tally. In a game versus Russia at the 2012 IIHF Women's World Championship, Hefford registered a four point performance (two goals, two assists) in a 14-1 victory.
In the National Women's Hockey League, she played for the Brampton Thunder. She was the league's all-time leading goal scorer with 252 goals (1998-99 to 2006-07). In a seven-year stretch from 2000-01 to 2006-07, she won or co-won five NWHL scoring titles and won five NWHL goal-scoring titles. The only years in which she did not win were 2001-02 and 2005-06 - the two years in which she missed most of the club campaign because she was away winning a gold medal with Canada's Olympic team.
In 2007-08, she led the new Canadian Women's Hockey League with 26 goals in 27 games for the Brampton Canadette-Thunder. She was named the Canadian Women's Hockey League Most Valuable Player of the 2007–08 CWHL season, an award voted on by the league's six team captains. In addition, she was also a CWHL Central All-Star. Despite winning CWHL Top Scorer of the Month honours on four separate occasions (September, November, December, January), she lost the Angela James Bowl scoring race by just three points (58 points to Jennifer Botterill's 61 points). It marked the first time since 1999-2000 that in a year when Hefford played a full season, she did not win her league scoring race.
In 2008-09, she won the Angela James Bowl after scoring 69 points in 28 games. She set new league records with 69 points, 44 goals, 11 power-play goals, six shorthanded goals and seven hat tricks. She is the first player in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League to record 100 career points. She recorded the record-setting point milestone on January 17, 2009 in a win over the Montreal Stars.
In 2009-10, she was absent from the Brampton Thunder for most of the season due to the centralization of Canada's women's hockey Olympic team. After Canada's win in Vancouver, she returned to participate in the Clarkson Cup and had a goal and an assist in Brampton's semi-final win over the Montreal Stars. Brampton lost to the Minnesota Whitecaps in the final.
On January 18, 2011, the Thunder competed against the Montreal Stars at the Invista Centre in Kingston, Ontario. This is team captain Jayna Hefford's hometown and she scored a goal in front of her closest friends, family and fans. In addition, her number 15 was raised to the rafters of the Invista Centre on behalf of the Kingston Area Minor Hockey Association. As of 2012, no sweaters bearing Hefford’s number will be used in Kingston Minor Hockey.
Hefford is a national spokesperson for the Canadian Hockey Association's Initiation Programme. In 2009, she set up a charity golf tournament, the Jayna Hefford Links 4 Life Golf Classic, in July 2009. The tournament raised $15,000 for the cancer and palliative care undertaken at Kingston's university hospitals.
- 1996-97 OWIAA Rookie of the Year
- Top scorer in the OWIAA (1996–97)
- Angela James Bowl, 2008–09
- CWHL Most Valuable Player, 2007–08
- CWHL Top Forward, 2008–09
- CWHL First All-Star Team, 2008–09
- CWHL Central All-Stars, 2007–08
- 1996/97 Ontario Women's Intercollegiate Athletic Association Rookie of the Year, as well as the 1998 Kingston and Ontario Amateur Athlete of the Year.
- Recognized at the 1999 and 2000 World Championships as the tournament's top goal scorer and scored at least one point in every game at the 2000 event in Canada.
- In 2002, Hefford was inducted into the Brampton Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.
- Top Forward, 2003 Esso Women's Nationals
- 2004 World Women's Championship Directorate Award as Top Forward and was named to the Tournament All Star team.
- 2005 World Women's Championship Directorate Award as Top Forward
- Top Forward, 2006 Esso Women's National Hockey Championship, Pool A
- Top Forward at the 2008 Esso Women's National Championship in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island