Abby Hoffman was a record-setting middle-distance runner of the 1960s and '70s, winning gold medals at several major international events, including the Commonwealth Games in 1966 and the Pan-American Games in 1963 (as a 15-year-old) and 1971. Hoffman was an eight-time winner of Canada's national 800-meter championship (1962-66,1968, 1969, 1974). She established a Commonwealth record in the 800 meters and set numerous Canadian and North American records in the 800 meters, 440 yards and 1,500 meters. She won two gold medals at the 1969 Maccabiah Games.
One of Canada's most accomplished track stars, Hoffman was the country's flag-bearer at the opening ceremonies of the 1976 Olympic Games and is a member of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame and the Order of Canada. Off the track, she has been a ground breaker – the first woman to head Sport Canada, a federal government sports agency, and the first named to the Executive Council of the International Amateur Athletic Federation.
Before turning to track, Hoffman made her mark in another sport. At age nine she wanted to play ice hockey but in the 1950s there were no girls teams in Toronto, so with her short hair she pretended to be a boy and became an all-star in a male league. When she was discovered, Hoffman was forced to quit the league but her parents took the matter all the way to the Ontario supreme court and won. This attracted international attention, including pieces in Newsweek and Time magazines. The trophy given annually to Canada's champion women's hockey team was named the Abby Hoffman Cup.