CALGARY, AB – Hockey Canada on Thursday named the 22 players who will comprise Canada’s National Women’s Under-22 Team at the European Air Canada Cup, January 2nd to 6th in Ravensburg, Germany. The team will depart for Germany on Monday, December 31st, as they look for a sixth consecutive title at the event.
Canada’s roster includes 19 of the 22 players that took part in a three-game series with the USA’s Women’s Under-22 Select Team in Lake Placid, NY in August. Canada’s National Women’s Under-22 Team won all three games in the series, the first time since the two teams began playing each other in 1999 that Canada had swept the Americans.
Courtney Birchard (Mississauga, ON/University of New Hampshire, HE), Mallory Deluce (London, ON/University of Wisconsin, WCHA) and Andrea Bevan (Collingwood, ON/Wilfrid Laurier University, CIS) were added to the roster. Birchard and Deluce attended the National Women’s Team Fall Festival in Prince George, BC in September, while Bevan attended the National Women’s Under-22 Team selection camp in Toronto in August.
“We are thrilled that we are able to bring back the core of the team from the summer,” said head coach Dan Church. “They really came together as a team against Americans in August, and many of them have had terrific starts to the season with their club teams, so we’re excited about the tournament. We think the three players we have added will be a great compliment to the group that is returning.”
The Canadians will be led in goal by netminders Shannon Szabados (Edmonton, AB/Grant MacEwan College, ACAC) and Laura Hosier (Sharon, ON/Mercyhurst College, CHA), both of whom were between the pipes when Canada won the gold medal at this event in January 2007. The tandem of Szabados and Hosier allowed just one goal in 240 minutes of play as the Canadians outscored their opposition 32-1.
Szabados, Meghan Agosta (Ruthven, ON/Mercyhurst College, CHA), Rebecca Johnston (Sudbury, ON/Cornell University, ECAC), Valerie Chouinard (Matane, QC/Mercyhurst College, CHA) and Jennifer Wakefield (Pickering, ON/University of New Hampshire, HE) were all members of Canada’s gold medal-winning National Women’s Team at the 4 Nations Cup in Leksand, Sweden in November.
Canada is the five-time defending champion at the European Air Canada Cup, having won every tournament since its inception in 2003, losing only once in 16 games. Canada, Germany and Russia will compete in Pool B, while Switzerland, Sweden and Finland comprise Pool A.