CALGARY, AB -- Team China will be in Calgary to play two games against Canada's Olympic Women's Hockey team on Oct. 8-9, as both teams prepare to compete at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, the Canadian Hockey Association announced Thursday.
The games mark the beginning of a 26-game pre-Olympic schedule for Canada's National Women's Team, which will play games against Finland, Sweden and 12 games against Team USA, their toughest rival, en route to Nagano.
Head coach Shannon Miller invited 28 players to training camp at the Father David Bauer Arena in Calgary in September, including all 20 players who helped Canada win a fourth consecutive gold medal at the Women's World Hockey Championship in Kitchener, ON last April. The players are competing for 20 roster spots on the team that will compete in the first-ever women's hockey tournament at the Winter Olympic Games.
"After four weeks of intense training, we're anxious to play some games against the teams we'll compete against at the Olympics," said Miller. "The Chinese are an aggressive, feisty team and we'll certainly have to be prepared to compete."
The Chinese, who finished fourth at the 1997 Women's World Hockey Championship in Kitchener, have been training in Edmonton since August as part of a four-month visit to North America to get ready for the Olympics. Team China is seeded fourth in the Olympic hockey tournament, behind Canada, USA and Finland.
The two Calgary games are the only ones the Chinese will play against Team Canada, which will play only four of its pre-Olympic games in Calgary. Game time for both games against the Chinese National Women's Team is 7 p.m. at Father David Bauer Arena. Team Canada will also play the Swedish National Women's Team on Oct. 16 and Team USA on January 26 at the Saddledome.