CALGARY -- Canada's Women's Olympic Hockey Team makes its first-ever tour of New Brunswick this week, playing two key pre-Olympic games against the United States, Canadian Hockey announced Monday.
The Women's Team will play Team USA on Friday night in Bathurst at the K.C. Irving Regional Centre and again on Saturday night in Saint John at the Harbour Station Arena. Tickets for both games are priced at $11.25 and $9.25. The start time for both games is 7 p.m. Team Canada, which has been training in Calgary at the Father David Bauer Arena since Sept. 7, leaves on Thursday for the New Brunswick tour.
Canada has fashioned a 6-1 won-lost record so far as it prepares to compete in the inaugural Women's Ice Hockey Tournament at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan next February. The four-time Women's World champion Canadians have defeated the Chinese National Women's Team twice and also have four victories over Sweden. The lone defeat was a 5-4 loss in a shootout to the United States on Oct. 25 in Salt Lake City, UT. Canada and the USA are ranked first and second in the world and have been each other's toughest rival since the first Women's World Hockey Championship was held in Ottawa in 1990. In all four world championship tournaments, Canada has defeated the Americans in the Gold-medal final game. The teams will meet 12 times this season before the Olympics.
The New Brunswick games are particularly important to the five Olympic team hopefuls from that province, including Kathy McCormack, a resident of Fredericton, who comes from Blackville, NB.
"It's significant in that you get to go home and have a chance to see everyone you haven't seen in three or four months," said McCormack, whose mother has purchased 30 tickets to the game in Bathurst on Friday night. "It also gives us a chance to show people why we've been working so hard and making the sacrifices we have. It also is a chance to draw more young girls into the game -- that's a big part of it, also."
Stacy Wilson, of Salisbury, NB, and one of five four-time Women's World champions competing for a spot on the 20-player Olympic team roster, said: "The fact that we're playing the U.S. makes these two games even more exciting since our friends and family will get to see the best calibre of hockey there is. It's always special to represent your country, but it becomes even more exciting when you're playing in the province where you grew up."