NHL News & Notes: Wickenheiser, Enstrom & More

In today’s News & Notes, the Toronto Maple Leafs have hired Hayley Wickenheiser, Toby Enstrom has signed a contract in Sweden and the Mikkel Boedker will wear No. 89 with the Ottawa Senators.

Maple Leafs Hire Wickenheiser

The Maple Leafs made a big-time add to their hockey team with Wickenheiser joining on as the team’s new assistant director of player development.

Wickenheiser was the face of women’s hockey during her playing years and is one of the most decorated Canadian athletes in history. Wickenheiser scored an impressive 31 goals and 68 points in 41 games on the international level, including an astounding 18 goals and 51 points in 26 games at the Olympics. She would win four consecutive gold medals at the Olympics as well as one silver medal. She would also win seven gold medals and six silver medals at the World Championships.

Per Lance Hornby, Wickenheiser will monitor the Maple Leafs’ WHL picks while she completes her medical degree in Calgary. She’ll travel to Toronto about three times a month in her new role.

When talking about the hire, Maple Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas stated that this hire wasn’t about diversity, but about hiring the best person for the job.

Enstrom Signs in Sweden

After spending 11 seasons in the NHL from 2007-08 until 2017-18, Enstrom will be returning to MODO Hockey Ornskoldsvik, a team he spent five seasons with from 2002-03 until 2006-07 before ultimately making the jump to the NHL. Enstrom spent his entire career with the Atlanta Thrashers/Winnipeg Jets franchise, scoring 54 goals and 308 points in 719 games.

Toby Enstrom, Jets
Toby Enstrom – Winnipeg Jets vs Philadelphia Flyers – November 17, 2016 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

An eighth-round pick in the storied 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Enstrom proved that draft position isn’t everything throughout his career. A solid defender who was capable of chipping in the occasional offense, most notably in 2009-10 and 2010-11 when he would record 50 and 51 points respectively, Enstrom was a valued member of the Thrashers and the Jets throughout their entire existence in this iteration of the team.

Related: NHL News & Notes: Couturier, Tkachuk & More

As Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reported, there was a fair amount of NHL interest in Enstrom this offseason but none were good enough to keep him in the NHL this season. Enstrom will immediately take over the role as captain on the team as well. Between the captaincy, the decision to return home with his family and likely an increased role with MODO, Enstrom ultimately decided that leaving the NHL was right for him at this time.

Boedker to Wear No. 89 With Senators

When Boedker was acquired by the Senators this offseason in a trade that saw Mike Hoffman traded to the San Jose Sharks (before being traded soon after to the Florida Panthers), it left the team with two players wearing No. 89 on their team. To solve this problem Senators’ forward Max McCormick was asked about his interest in giving up the number for the newly-acquired Sen.

Mikkel Boedker Sharks
Mikkel Boedker, San Jose Sharks, Nov. 28, 2017 (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

“I got a call from our head equipment guy Johnny,” McCormick said of the situation. “He mentioned that Boedker also wears #89 and asked if I would be ok with switching numbers. I was totally cool with it. I’ve actually worn No. 17 for my whole career so I was excited to get that number back again.”

McCormick also mentioned that he was happy to oblige with the number swap because Boedker is a 10-year NHL veteran. Happy to make the change and noting that Boedker didn’t even have to ask, McCormick would make the change without any issue whatsoever.

“It means more to some guys than others,” McCormick said on the importance of numbers. “I definitely prefer wearing No. 17 but, to be honest, it means more to me to get to put on the jersey so I’ll wear any number they want me to.”