CALGARY, AB -- Goaltender Isabelle Minier of Breakeyville, QC was released Thursday by Canada's Women's Olympic Hockey team, the first roster deletion as the club prepares for the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan in February, head coach Shannon Miller announced.
The move leaves the women's team with 28 players, including four goaltenders -- Lesley Reddon of Fredericton, NB, Danielle Dube of Vancouver, Manon Rhéaume of Lac Beauport, QC and Sami Jo Small of Winnipeg. Reddon and Dube played for Canada's gold medal-winning National Women's Team at the Women's World Hockey Championship in Kitchener, ON last April. Rhéaume is a two-time world champion, who was the last cut from the 1997 World Championship team.
Small, 21, was added to the roster last week after working out with the women's team and performing well in the second of two intra-squad games. Small, a mechanical engineering student at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, plays for the men's hockey team at the U.S. university. She has been attending the school on a track and field scholarship, specializing in throwing the javelin and discus.
Small had been working out at the Olympic Oval High Performance Women's Hockey Program before being offered a tryout with the National Women's Team.
Minier, 20, was invited to the training camp in Calgary following a selection camp in Montreal, one of three such evaluation camps held last summer to identify potential candidates for the 1998 Women's Olympic team. Twenty-eight players were invited to the five-month training period, including all 20 players who played on the 1997 Women's World Hockey Championship team last April in Kitchener, ON. Minier has played for the varsity women's team at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières for the past three seasons. Neither Minier nor Small had ever been invited to try out for the National Women's Team before.
"We invited 28 players to compete for the 20 spots on the Olympic roster with the understanding the door is always open," said Miller. "If a new player proves to us that she's better able to challenge for a top 20 spot, we will adjust our roster accordingly.
"Minier is a young, talented goalie with the potential to earn a berth on the National Women's Team in the future."