Abby Hoffman

Abby Hoffman
© Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement

Abigail “Abby” Hoffman is a former track and field athlete. Born in 1947 in Toronto, she was nine when she cut her hair and signed up to play in an all-boys minor hockey league using the name “Ab Hoffman”. A star player, her skill on the ice led to her selection for an all-star team where her sex was revealed, leading to her eventual exclusion from the league. Despite widespread media publicity, protests and support from National Hockey League teams, the boys-only policy was maintained. Hoffman eventually found her strength in middle distances in track and field, competing in four Olympic Games, making the finals twice and named flag bearer for the Canadian team at the 1976 Olympics in Montréal. She was a medallist in four successive Pan American Games and a Commonwealth Games champion. She set numerous Canadian records on and off the track, including being the first woman to serve as Director General of Sport Canada. Hoffman has received many awards and honours, including induction as an Officer of the Order of Canada and the Sports Hall of Fame, and she remains one of the most influential women in Canadian sport. She is currently an Assistant Deputy Minister at Health Canada.

“People don’t think running 15 miles a week is a good idea for girls? Guess what? I’m going to run 60.”

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