OTTAWA, ON – Team Canada opened up training camp today at the University of Ottawa as they prepare for the World Cup of Hockey 2004. The players arrived throughout Thursday from across North America and filtered into the rink where they meet the coaching staff, and prepared their equipment for the next day.
Players took to the ice for the first time Friday morning when coaches Pat Quinn, Jacques Martin, Ken Hitchcock, and Wayne Fleming ran them through a light skate and a series of drills. The players where excited to finally get going, and enjoyed the first day together. “The first day is always good to get a little rust off and get the legs going, as well as meet the rest of the guys” said Team Canada veteran goalie, Martin Brodeur.
After the skate, players participated in a media session where reporters from across Canada had their first glimpse of Canada’s finest. With the return of Mario Lemieux to the ice, and the addition of young superstars Dany Heatley and Roberto Luongo to the mix, this team looks to be one of the strongest teams Canada has assembled.
Canada last played in a best-on –best tournament in Salt Lake City, at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games where they captured gold after defeating the Americans. But it is the US that are the defending champions in the World Cup of Hockey as they beat the Canadians in a best of three series in 1996, the last time the tournament was held.
The players took the afternoon to catch up on some rest before day two of camp starts on Saturday with a morning practice.