Month: January 2018 (Page 2 of 4)

Switzerland Olympic roster

By Martin Merk –


Men’s national team coach Patrick Fischer will take three goaltenders, eight defencemen and 14 forward to Korea. 17 of the nominated players were on the roster for the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.

“With Leonardo Genoni, Jonas Hiller and Tobias Stephan three of the currently best goaltenders from the domestic league with international experience are on the roster. On defence we build on skilled and experienced defencemen and complete forwards who work well both offensively and defensively and stand out one-on-one,” Fischer said.

All 25 players join from clubs from Switzerland’s National League.

Switzerland will host a pre-competition game on 6 February against neighbouing country Germany in Kloten before travelling to Korea the day after where they will have a four-day camp in Goyang near Seoul and play another exhibition game on 11 February against Norway.

At the Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament Switzerland is seeded in Group A with Olympic champion Canada, the Czech Republic and host Korea.


The Swiss women’s national team, which won Olympic bronze four years ago in Sochi, includes three goaltenders, eight defenders and 12 forwards. 19 players were part of the team that competed in the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship.

For goaltender Florence Schelling and defender Nicole Bullo it will be the fourth Olympic Winter Games. They have competed in all Olympic women’s ice hockey tournaments since Switzerland was qualified for the first time in 2006.

Two players join from U.S. college teams while four play in Sweden including two key players for Linkoping. Goaltender Florence Schelling was named MVP and Best Goaltender of the 2014 Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament and Lara Stalder was Switzerland’s top scorer in the Olympic Qualification.

“We bring a team with a lot of character and spirit that has a lot of experience and leadership on and off the ice. We have three strong and experienced goaltenders, a very stable defence and a lot of speed and creativity up-front,” said national team head coach Daniela Diaz, a former national team player herself whose brother Raphael will compete in PyeongChang 2018 with the men’s team.

The roster includes five sisters. The Waidacher sisters Isabel, Monika and Nina, and twin sisters Laura and Sara Benz.

The women’s team will travel to Korea on 1st February and during a five-day camp in Goyang play exhibition games against Canada on 4th February and against Finland on 6th February.

Switzerland will play in the “bottom” group B against Sweden, Japan and Korea and aim for one of the two spots from the group in the final round.

Slovakia Olympic roster

By Martin Merk –


“We have plenty of creative players there. We wanted to mix it so that there would be youth, experience, creativity and quick legs. With the game system and the team, we wanted to get closer to the modern style of hockey,” said General Manager Miroslav Satan.

Defenceman Dominik Granak will be the most experienced player on the roster with 175 national team games. 30-year-old Ladislav Nagy is the oldest on the roster, 21-year-old forward Matus Sukel the youngest.

14 players join from the Czech Extraliga and ten from the Slovak Extraliga. A bit surprisingly Michal Cajkovsky of Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg is the only Slovak player in the Kontinental Hockey League who was named to the Olympic team.

Among the KHL omissions are Severstal Cherepovets goalie Julius Hudacek and players from the Slovak KHL team Slovan Bratislava such as Andrej Meszaros, Michal Repik and Marek Viedensky. Slovan currently has one of its worst seasons since joining the KHL and is fourth from bottom in the 27-team cross-border league. That may be one of the reasons the coaching staff is counting on players from elsewhere. Another may be the more North American style of play the new head coach Craig Ramsay wants to implement.

“This is definitely one of the most difficult things I have done in the few years I’ve been in hockey. I never had any preconceived emotions when I came here. I had to learn the players, meet the players, watch them play in their home teams. We took them through eight games. We had a pretty good response from our players. I didn’t come in with a plan who is going to play and which league they are in,” Ramsey said at a press conference in Bratislava.

“We have good players, they play hard, they did a good job for us. We agreed to take the players who showed the best, who try to do what was asked and we’re very pleased with our group. The players who come from the Slovak league deserve to be in. They surprised me, they have no trouble keeping up the pace. We plan to play a game that is up-tempo with more speed to our game. I really enjoyed the games I watched in the Slovak league. I think the kids played really hard and more of a North American style of the game and I thought this is going to fit to the game I want to play, that I enjoyed playing and that I enjoy coaching.”

For Ramsey it’s about the future and implementing a game system in the Slovak national team program. The future is represented by a couple of new faces especially in the offensive department. Milos Bubela, Michal Kristof, Patrik Lamper, Matej Paulovic and Matus Sukel all have played less than ten national team games so far and only exhibition games until now.

Despite that the team will have some experience. With an average age of 29 years the team will be older in average than in the past four World Championships.

Macedonia wins and loses in OT in Bosnia and Hercegovina


In the weekend Bosnia invited Macedonia for two test games, as the Bosnians are preparing for upcoming WC qualifications in Sarajevo.

Macedonia won the first game 8:7 (3:2,3:1,2:4), not even the Macedonians who are still not eligible for IIHF tournaments expected a victory in the first road game. Star of the game was Team Macedonia captain Davor Anastasov with 4 goals. Stefan Deckovski scored twice, Kristijan Tashevski and Dmitrij Prokudin scored each one goal.

Game two was in the first period in favor of the Bosnians who took a 3:1 lead. But Macedonians fought back and after regulation time the score was 6:6. The following overtime Macedonia dominated but the Bosnians made the score and took the victory 6:7.

Scorers for Macedonia in game two: Dmitrij Prokudin and Davor Anastasov each 2 goals, Andrej Vasilev and Samuel Naumovski 1.

Both games are avaiable on Bosnia and Hercegovina Federation YouTube channel

Game #1:  click here

Game #2:  click here

Slovenia Olympic roster

By Martin Merk –


Slovenia was like four years earlier the lowest-seeded team to earn qualification to the Olympic Winter Games but they made it again by winning their qualification group in Minsk ahead of favored Belarus and Denmark.

On Friday the roster was announced at a media event in Ljubljana and includes three goaltenders, eight defencemen and 14 forwards.

“Deciding the Olympic roster is one of the toughest jobs for every coach. The selection was made in good faith that. With these players we will be able to achieve the best results at the Olympics. We would be happy to repeat the success from Sochi,” said Nik Zupancic, the assistant coach who represented Slovenia and previously Yugoslavia in 13 World Championship events.

“Lots of time has been dedicated to scouting. Head Coach Savolainen has many scouts who watched the players at the games in their leagues. The final decisions were made based on small details. We have chosen players who we believe will function best at the level of competition we are going to play and based on their task at the games themselves.”

The Slovenian players come from clubs from nine different countries and ten different leagues, which didn’t make scouting an easy task. Some even play in second-tier competitions in their country. And only one player, forward Andrej Hebar, plays for a local club, Olimpija Ljubljana, while the rest is split up anywhere between Grenoble in the French Alps and Gothenburg up north to Novosibirsk in the east.

Ziga Jeglic, Robert Sabolic and Rok Tikar all currently play in Russia. Also Jan Mursak played in the KHL until he recently and in his fifth season in Russia left Torpedo Nizhni Novgorod for Swedish powerhouse Frolunda Gothenburg, where he last week debuted with two goals in his first game.

19 players return from the team that has won the Olympic Qualification tournament. Among the missing ones is Los Angeles Kings star Anze Kopitar. And 22 players from the team represented Slovenia at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship last spring.

Currently 15th in the IIHF Men’s World Ranking, the Slovenes will be the underdog again but they’re ready to accept that role again. In Sochi 2014 they lost to Russia and the United States but beat Slovakia 3-1 in the preliminary round and then faced Austria in the qualification playoff where they blanked the neighbours 4-0. After losing the quarter-final game to Sweden 5-0, Slovenia finished the Olympics in seventh place. It was the best placing ever of a Slovenian team in top-level international ice hockey and the only time Slovenia had reached a top-eight placing at a top-level event – even including the Yugoslav era.

The big dream is to repeat the success of Sochi also in Korea.

“I would be very pleased if we win the fourth game. But, from my perspective as a coach I am also interested how is our performance is going to develop from the first game to the third. I want the team to grow from one game to the next one. As a coach I will be happy if after the Olympics we will be able to say that we showed the best version of ourselves and played at the highest level that we are capable of,” said new head coach Kari Savolainen.

2018 Olympics see historic first for Canadian women’s hockey

By Bryn Levy –

As the Canadian women’s hockey team gears up for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, one player has made history before even stepping onto the ice.

Defenceman Brigette Lacquette is the first-ever First Nations woman to make the team, and she’s been basking in an outpouring of well-wishes from across the country ever since she cracked the roster.

“I’m super excited and I think having all that extra support from all the First Nations across Canada is definitely very special for me,” she said Tuesday during a national media call.

Lacquette is originally from the Cote First Nation near Kamsack, Sask., but moved with her family to the small community of Mallard, Man. that she now calls home.

Growing up, Lacquette said seeing fellow First Nations Manitoban Jordin Tootoo skate in the 2003 World Juniors was a moment that made her believe she could make it to the world’s biggest stage.

Now, she said she hopes her play in Pyeongchang sends a message to the next wave of little girls imagining themselves wearing the Maple Leaf.

“You can achieve anything you put your mind to. It doesn’t matter where you come from. You can always achieve your dreams,” she said.

Lacquette said she was thankful for the support she’s had from her First Nation, coaches and teammates along the way, but said she was especially grateful to her parents, Terance and Anita,

After being a late cut ahead of the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia, she said it was a thrill to get to call her Dad this year and tell him his hours of coaching and building a backyard rink for her every winter had paid off.

“There’s only wi-fi, so he was hanging out by the wi-fi waiting for me to call him and he was just super excited. To finally tell him that I made the team was special.”

Lacquette and the rest of Team Canada will be looking for their fifth-consecutive gold medal in women’s hockey when the Winter Games kick off Feb. 9.

Japan Olympic roster

By Martin Merk –


The team nicknamed “Smile Japan” is a close-knit group. Of the 23 players on the roster, 21 have been on the squad that earned promotion to the 2019 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship last spring and 20 players were on the team that won the Final Olympic Qualification tournament on home ice in Tomakomai one year ago to earn the ticket to the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics.

Despite being among the regular Women’s World Championship participants, Japan was missing in the Olympic women’s ice hockey line-up in 2002, 2006 and 2010 and for the first time earned qualification on the ice for Sochi 2014 and the second time for PyeongChang 2018. 15 of the players on the current roster were also part of the last Olympic squad four years ago.

All 23 players have been playing their club hockey in the Japanese championship recently although a few players have overseas experience. Canada-born defender Akane Hosoyamada played NCAA hockey for the Syracuse University and a few CWHL games for the Calgary Inferno before moving to Japan. Goaltender Nana Fujimoto also has overseas experience minding the net for the NWHL’s New York Riveters in 2015/2016 while defenders Sena Suzuki (Toronto Furies) and Aina Takeuchi (Calgary Inferno) played in the CWHL before coming back to Japan for the Olympic season. Forward Miho Shishiuchi played in the Finnish women’s league for HPK Hameenlinna from 2014 to 2016.

Takeshi Yamanaka, who played at the Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament on home ice in Nagano 1998, is in his second season as head coach of the women’s national team. He originally joined the team as an assistant coach after the 2014 Olympics.

Chiho Osawa has been the team captain during the last few years. With 70 national team games in IIHF-sanctioned events 35-year-old forward Hanae Kubo is the most experienced players. She had her debut at the 1999 Women’s World Championship B-Pool. Shoko Ono, 36, debuted in the same year and came back in 2016 after a seven-year absence on the national team. 17-year-old defender Aoi Shiga is the youngest player on the team.

Spain moves up

By Andy Potts –

The Spanish team won the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division II Group B in Belgrade, leaving host nation Serbia in second place as Croatia took bronze. Turkey was relegated back to Division III after winning that section 12 months ago in New Zealand.

For the Spanish U20 national team it’s one of the biggest victories in recent year. Spain did in several categories lose out on first place against Serbia and seldom beats Croatia in men’s hockey. The win means promotion to the next level after five consecutive years in the Division I Group B. The four previous years Spain had finished in second place.

It was a tight group, with the top three teams all in contention going into the final day. Spain and Croatia faced off in the opening game, with the Spanish knowing that destiny was in their own hands. Victory would secure top spot regardless of other results, but defeat could be costly. A Croatian victory in regulation would have put the team in first place, but also opened the door for Serbia to top the group if it could beat Turkey in the last game of the event.

The Spanish approached their decisive fixture with a clear plan to frustrate Croatia. Across the three periods, the Iberian team allowed just 18 shots at Raul Barbo’s net and always had the upper hand in terms of generating offence. The second period was the most competitive, and Bruno Ficur’s goal midway through the session pulled Croatia back to 1-1 and threatened to put the group back into the balance.

Spain, though, rallied in the third. Two goals from Dorian Donath, the first of them a wrist shot fired in from an acute angle on the power play, secured a 3-1 victory and guaranteed gold and promotion to Division IIA. Serbia, unable to top the group, at least had the satisfaction of beating its neighbour and rival from Croatia to the silver medals thanks to a convincing 7-1 demolition of Turkey to conclude the action.

If Spain’s win over Croatia was decisive, the pivotal moment of the tournament came rather earlier, when Maurizio Mansi’s team played Serbia on the second game day in Belgrade. The host looked to be on course for a vital victory, leading 2-1 on third-period goals from Lazar Pejcic and team captain Luka Vukicevic. But a late penalty on Vukicevic proved costly: Spain, which would finish the tournament with the strongest power play in the event, snatched a dramatic last-minute tying goal through Alfonso Garcia. Serbia protested vigorously, insisting that Garcia’s stick was high when he swatted Donath’s looping feed into the net from close range. The officials were unmoved, Spain forced overtime and went on to win the shoot-out on Joan Cerda’s effort. The result tilted the balance of the group in Spain’s favour, and Serbia was unable to claw back the lost ground.

If it was tight at the top, it was even closer at the bottom. Belgium, Mexico and Turkey all finished the tournament on three points after the Mexicans’ final-day 5-4 win over the Belgians. That left Turkey needing a point from its game against Serbia to escape the trapdoor. However, that heavy loss against the host sent Turkey down to Division III.

Captain Jorge Perez was the toast of his team-mates after scoring 2+2 – including the game-winner – in that nail-biter against Belgium to keep his team in IIB. The Mexicans were clinical, especially in the early stages, when their first four goals came inside 23 minutes from just 11 shots at Belgium’s Anthony Gubbels. Gerardo Garcia del Valle came up strong in a tense third period, blanking the opposition to preserve a narrow lead until the end.

The final standings showed Belgium in fourth place, lifted by its opening day 8-3 victory over Turkey. Mexico came fifth thanks to its win against the Belgians, while Turkey’s 6-4 success against Mexico wasn’t enough to overcome that heavy loss at the start of the tournament.

Serbia could not top the table, but it did come out on top in the goalscoring chart. Vucicevic ended up with 8+4=12 points, boosted by a hat-trick in that game against Turkey. Mirko Djumic fired in… in the same match-up, moving to 3+8=11 and edging ahead of Spain’s Cerda (5+5).

Spain’s Raul Barbo was nominated as the top goalie by the directorate. In a high-scoring tournament, he played every minute of his country’s games and allowed just eight goals for a GAA of 1.57. He also recorded the only shut-out of the event, blanking Mexico in a 4-0 victory. The other directorate awards went to Croatian D-man Luka Kramaric and Serbia’s top-scoring forward Luka Vucicevic.

Sweden Olympic roster

By Martin Merk –


The Swedes announced three goaltenders, eight defencemen and 12 forwards who will compete for the Swedish men’s ice hockey team at the 2018 Olympics in Korea. Two more roster spots are open and will be filled with two additional forwards.

The current roster includes five players who have won gold at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship last spring including goaltender Viktor Fasth and forwards Dennis Everberg, Carl Klingberg, Joel Lundqvist and Linus Omark.

Ten players join from teams in the KHL, nine play in the domestic SHL and four in Switzerland.

Joel Lundqvist, who captained Sweden to gold last May, is the most experienced player with 141 international games for the Swedish men’s national team. Defenceman Staffan Kronwall (104) and forward Linus Omark (101) also have more than 100 national team games where Omark scored the most (19) goals.

34-year-old Lundqvist is also the oldest player on a roster full of experience with an average age of 29. Only one player is younger than 23: millennial Rasmus Dahlin. The 17-year-old defenceman is a candidate for becoming the next number-one-draft pick in the NHL and recently played at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship where he won a silver medal and the Best Defenceman award.

Sweden will have a pre-tournament game in Incheon near Seoul against Canada on 12 February before the tournament starts in Gangneung where all ice sports competitions will be held.

Tre Kronor won silver at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. This year they will face countries from their neighbourhood in the preliminary round with archival Finland, Norway and Germany.


By Andrew Podnieks –

It is a roster heavy on experience. Indeed, only two skaters and one goalie did not play at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Plymouth, United States.

Coach Leif Boork will be behind the bench for his fourth major event. He took over in 2015 and PyeongChang will complete his Olympic cycle. All players are playing in the Swedish league this year.

MODO Ornskoldsvik and AIK Stockholm lead the way, providing the team with five players each. Brynas and Lulea have three each, while Linkoping, Djurgarden Stockholm, and Leksand all have two. One player comes from HV71.

The roster has many new faces from the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, but one binding affiliation is that most of these women played at their 2008 and/or 2009 Women’s U18 event. In other words, their roots in the Swedish program run deep.

In goal, the number-one slot will go to Sara Grahn. The 29-year-old is in her third Olympics and has also played in nine Women’s Worlds. She has been the heir to Kim Martin. Behind her will be Sarah Berglind, the third goalie last year, and Minatsu Murase, who played at the 2013 WW18 and not since in IIHF play.

On defence, Boork made just one change. Out is Anna Kjellbin and in is Emmy Alasalmi. The 24-year-old Alasalmi has only one WW on her resume, that back in 2015. The coach will rely most heavily on 29-year-old Emilia Ramboldt, who has been with the national team since 2007 and is in her third Olympics.

Johanna Fallman, who has played in six WW events but is making her Olympics debut. Annie Svedin also is an Olympics rookie after five WW appearances. Johanna Olofsson is making her second Olympics appearance.

Then there are the younger players. Elin Lundberg has only the 2016 Women’s Worlds to her international credit and Maja Nylen-Persson, born in 2000, is only 17.

Up front, there is also but one change. Michelle Lowenhielm of the University of Minnesota-Duluth is on the outside while Rebecca Stenberg, who hasn’t played since the 2012 Women’s Worlds, is in.

Pernilla Winberg is the most experienced player. She has appeared in every women’s tournament since 2004 and is still only 28 years old.

Right behind her is Erica Uden Johansson, the 28-year-old who has played at the last two Olympics as well as five Women’s Worlds. Emma Nordin is also in this class, a player in her mid-twenties with plenty of international experience.

Sara Hjalmarsson is part of the young guard with some experience. After playing in three WW18 events, she made her senor debut last year and will turn 20 just before the start of the games.

Sabina Kuller, who played as Lambetz-Kuller the last three WW’s, is also at 23 a veteran.

Lisa Johansson, Erika Grahm, and Fanny Rask are three players from the 2008-09 group of U18 players on the team as is Anna Borgqvist.

Maria Lindh and Fanny Rask are two of the few players from the 2014 Olympic team.

At 19, Hanna Olsson is the baby of the forwards, but she has tons of experience, including a record four WW18’s and three senior Women’s Worlds. A great skater with offensive skills, she will be a key member of the team’s success up front.

Twenty-two-year-old Olivia Carlsson is a rare success story who went right from WW18 to WW. She rounds out what Boork hopes will be a medal-quality roster.

Czechia Olympic roster

By Martin Merk –


As expected the Czechs will heavily rely on their KHL players. There are 28 players in the Russian-based cross-border league and 15 players are on the Czech roster for the 2018 Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament. There will also be seven players from the Czech Extraliga and three from the Switzerland’s National League be travelling to Korea to represent the country.

“Some players have been clear for a long time but the final question marks have disappeared Sunday night when the Extraliga round ended,” Jandac said about his decision. “We chose the positions so we could put together a balanced team. I believe our strength will be team play. And a great bunch of players like it has always been when Czech hockey was celebrating success.”

Martin Erat, who will serve as team captain, will join a small club of Czech hockey players who have played four Olympics inclucing Vlastimil Bubnik, Josef Cerny, Jiri Holik, Patrik Elias, Dominik Hasek and Tomas Kaberle. Only one Czech player had more Olympic participations, Jaromir Jagr with five. For Roman Cervenka it will be the third Olympics. Cervenka (9) and Erat (7) are also the players who combine for most Olympic and World Championship participations on the team followed by Ondrej Nemec (6) and Jan Kovar (5) while Roman Cervenka has appeared in most national team games (138) before Petr Koukal (118) and Ondrej Nemec (116).

While many players have top-level experience, the absence of NHL players also gives players a chance to be in the international spotlight who haven’t had the chance before. For Patrik Bartosak, Milan Gulas, Dominik Kubalik, Tomas Mertl, Vojtech Mozik and Adam Polasek it will be their first top-level, IIHF-sanctioned event with the men’s national team. Most of them have played in U20 or U18 Worlds before but for Gulas and Mozik it will be the first IIHF-sanctioned tournament of their career.

Still, the Czechs will travel to Korea with a very experienced roster with an average age of 29 years. 36-year-old Erat is the oldest player on the team, 25-year-old Mozik the youngest. Jandac admits that recent World Juniors participant Martin Necas was considered as well but due to injuries he didn’t have the chance to test him with the men’s teams.

The Czech Republic lost in the quarter-finals in Sochi 2014 and Vancouver 2010 but won bronze in Turin 2006 and gold in Nagano 1998. In PyeongChang 2018 they will play defending Olympic champion Canada, Switzerland and host Korea in Group A of the preliminary round.

The Czech team will have its first practices in Prague before leaving to Korea. An exhibition game is planned against Finland in the Seoul region on 11 February before the Olympic men’s ice hockey tournament kicks off on the east coast in Gangneung.

Canada’s Olympic roster

By Andrew Ponieks –


Led by general manager Sean Burke and head coach Willie Desjardins, Hockey Canada unveiled its 25-man roster of the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, Korea.

The two-time defending gold medalists will be relying most heavily on players from the KHL, the Russian league from which 13 of the 25 are currently playing.

In addition, four players come from the top Swiss league (NL), three from the Swedish league (SHL) and American league (AHL). Germany (DEL) and Austria (EBEL) are providing one player each.

The youngest player on the roster is 25-year-old Christian Thomas (whose father, Steve, played at four World Championships, winning a gold and two silver) while the oldest is 37-year-old defenceman Chris Lee, who made his IIHF debut with Canada in sensational fashion at least year’s World Championship, helping the team win a silver medal.

This is a veteran and experienced team. The average age is 30.44, and only 8 of the 25 players are in their twenties. Interestingly, only Lee and Mat Robinson have never played in the NHL. At the other end, the team has three players with more than 700 NHL games to their credit: Chris Kelly (833), Derek Roy (738), and Rene Bourque (725).

“I think it’s fair to say there isn’t a player we didn’t look at,” Burke said. “We gave everyone a chance to make the team.”

“We want to be a tough team to play against,” Burke continued. “We have a lot of character. We have grit and character and skill. We have players who’ll do anything to win hockey games. This is the Olympic Games. It’s the greatest event we have. A lot of those players never dreamed they’d have this opportunity. We’re a hockey team, but we’re also representing Canada with all the other athletes who will be at the Olympics.”

“Most guys on this team have been told ‘no’ at some point in their careers,” started Desjardins. “No, they can’t play in the NHL. No, it’s over. But they’ve managed to battle and stuck with it. They didn’t give up. That’s their nature of being Canadian.”

The players will meet in Riga, Latvia, on 28th January and have 17 days before their first game of the Olympics. They’ll play three exhibition games leading up to PyeongChang during which time coach Desjardins will figure out who will be his starting goalie and which players will fulfill which roles.

“Our strength is in our depth,” Burke added. “Our defence is very mobile. They’re quick; they can move the puck. We don’t want to spend a lot of time in our end. And once we get the puck to our forwards, we have speed and skill. But we have a team that can be physical and play with grit if we need to.”


By Hockey Canada

The Canadian Women’s Olympic Hockey Team also features: 14 players who won the gold medal at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia; six players who won the gold medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C.; and one player who won the gold medal at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy.

“It was an extremely difficult decision narrowing down our roster due to the depth of talent on our team; we are excited to move forward with the 23 players chosen to represent Canada at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games,” said head coach Laura Schuler. “These players have worked hard to earn this moment and we are confident that they will be able to inspire and unite our country as they set their sights on a fifth straight gold medal for Canada.”

The team nominated was selected by Schuler, alongside Melody Davidson, Hockey Canada’s general manager of National Women’s Team Programs, with support from assistant coaches Dwayne Gylywoychuk, Troy Ryan, and goaltending coach Brad Kirkwood, along with consultation from Hockey Canada’s chief executive officer, Tom Renney, and Hockey Canada’s president and chief operating officer, Scott Smith.

“It is a tremendous accomplishment to be chosen to represent your country at the Olympic Games,” said Renney, who was a member of the Canadian Olympic Team in 1994, where he guided the Canadian Olympic Men’s Hockey Team to silver as head coach. “We are thrilled with the 23 players selected and we know they will wear the Maple Leaf with great pride and will leave nothing to chance in their preparation for PyeongChang.”

The Canadian Women’s Olympic Hockey Team will look to win its fifth-straight gold medal at the Olympic Winter Games when the puck drops in South Korea on Feb. 11.

“Canada’s strong tradition of hockey talent is on display here, there is so much talent and depth on this team,” said Isabelle Charest, PyeongChang 2018 Team Canada Chef de Mission. “I am excited to watch them defend their gold medal in PyeongChang and can’t wait to cheer them on.”

PyeongChang 2018 will mark the sixth time women’s hockey has been part of the Olympic Winter Games. In addition to its four gold medals, Canada’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team also claimed silver in 1998 in Nagano, Japan.

“Women’s hockey is one of Canada’s most successful events every Olympic Games and our Canadian athletes have never failed to win a medal since women’s hockey was added to the program in 1998,” said the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities. “This includes gold medals at the last four Olympic Winter Games and with a reputation like that, all eyes will be on Canada in PyeongChang. Be sure to cheer on these great women as they make Canada proud.”

Prior to heading to PyeongChang, the team will resume its Esso Series schedule with five games against Alberta Midget Hockey League opponents in the New Year.

The Olympic women’s hockey tournament opens on Saturday, Feb. 10 at the Kwandong Hockey Centre and culminates on Thursday, Feb. 22 at the Gangneung Hockey Centre. Canada is scheduled to compete in Group A and begins preliminary-round play on Sunday, Feb. 11.

Prior to being named to Team Canada, all nominations are subject to approval by the COC’s Team Selection Committee following its receipt of nominations by all National Sport Federations in late January 2018.

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