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Team Canada Announced for World Women’s Hockey Championship In Ottawa

March 20, 2013

It’s that time again, Team Canada fans!  The Women’s World Hockey Championships (WWHC) are about to visit Ottawa, Ontario. From April 2-9, our nation’s capital will play host to the best female hockey players from around the world.

The top eight countries led by Canada and the United States, with Switzerland, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Germany, and Czech Republic rounding out the field, will battle for the 2013 crown.  Entering the tournament atop the world rankings, Team Canada will attempt to defend their 2012 championship on home ice.

The coaching staff of Dan Church (head coach), Danielle Goyette (asst. coach) and Lisa Haley (asst. coach) bring back a veteran-laden squad:

Goalies:

  • Geneviève Lacasse
  • Charline Labonté
  • Shannon Szabados

Defence

  • Courtney Birchard
  • Tessa Bonhomme
  • Laura Fortino
  • Jocelyne Larocque
  • Meaghen Mikkelson
  • Lauriane Rougeau
  • Catherine Ward

Forwards

  • Meghan Agosta-Marciano
  • Gillian Apps
  • Bailey Bram
  • Jayna Hefford
  • Haley Irwin
  • Brianne Jenner
  • Rebecca Johnston
  • Caroline Ouellette
  • Marie-Philip Poulin
  • Natalie Spooner
  • Sarah Vaillancourt
  • Jennifer Wakefield
  • Hayley Wickenheiser

Led by mainstays Hayley Wickenheiser, Jayna Hefford, and Caroline Ouellette, the entire roster returns from the 2012, with the exception of  Vicki Bendus, whose spot is taken by national team veteran, Sarah Vaillancourt who returns to the team after a year of rehabilitation from injury. Welcome back, Sarah! Your feistiness all over the ice is a joy to watch.

As always, expectations for the team run high, but never higher than when the games are played in Canada. Having attended some 5 games including the gold medal game in Winnipeg in 2007, I can attest to the fact that if you haven’t attended a gold medal international hockey game on Canadian soil in person, you don’t know loud. Granted, I expect it was louder at the Olympics in GM Place, but I can only speak to what I know.

Besides uber-rival US, we have the steadily improving Finns, the rising Swiss and the enigmatic Swedes to contend with. That is not to discount the abilities of the Russians, Germans and Czechs. Once you’re in the tournament, you always have the opportunity. Its amazing what a hot goaltender can do – just ask the Swiss.

The Swiss entered last year’s tournament looking up at the four medal-winning countries, only to have their goaltender become the star of the show.  Florence Schelling led her team to its first medal at the women’s world championships. On the way, the Swiss beat a Finnish team that is well aware of how far a hot goalie can take them – they’ve done it themselves with their own Noora Raty (see the 2011 WWHC).

In addition to running into a hot goalie, Canada has to compete against themselves. Their nerves, if you will. Last year, I wrote about the team’s poor showing in their first match against a driven US team. That particularly bad showing led to progressive improvement leading to the overtime win to end the tournament, against that same US team. Here’s hoping that having weathered that experience will assist in the team hitting the ice ‘running’ this year.

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