CALGARY, AB - Canada's National Women's Under 22 roster was named today following a week-long NIKE development selection camp in Calgary, AB, the Canadian Hockey Association announced on Monday.
Canada's National Women's Under 22 Team will now focus on preparing for three games against the USA Select Under 22 Team this week. The CODA Challenge, a two-game series, is scheduled for August 24th and August 25th at the Father David Bauer Olympic Arena in Calgary, AB (both games will start at 7 pm MDT), followed by a third Canada/USA game on August 27th in Medicine Hat, Alberta at 6 pm (MDT).
The team is made up of 11 returnees and 11 newcomers to the Under 22 program. The 1999-2000 National Women's Under 22 Team won a three-game series against the USA in Lake Placid, NY in August, 1999 and also captured the Four Nations Women's Hockey Cup in Germany in February, 2000.
Karen Hughes is the head coach of Canada's National Women's Under 22 Team. Hughes will be joined behind the bench by assistant coaches Margot Page and Nancy Wilson.
Five players were released Monday morning, after a full week of practices and a number of intersquad games. The released players were defenceman Patricia Kemp, of Kanata, ON and forwards Meredith Ostrander, of Prescott, ON, Nathalie Pellerin, of Haute-Abougajane, NB, Rebecca Russell, of Lethbridge, NF and Brandy West, of Langbank, SK.
Also, goaltender Charline Labonté, of Boisbriand, QC was returned to the QMJHL's Acadie-Bathurst Titans for their QMJHL training camp. The CHA and Acadie-Bathurst had agreed that Labonté would leave on August 21st to return to her junior team camp prior to the National Under 22 Team camp.
"After a very intense week of training and competition, it was very difficult for the coaching staff to select the final twenty-two player roster," said Hughes. "This being said, the result is a terrific group of players which will represent Canada very well in the upcoming games against the USA."
The Canadian Hockey Association launched the National Under 22 Program during the 1998-99 season. The program gives younger players an opportunity to experience international competition, on the international ice surface, and to experience everything that international hockey encompasses such as international travel, different playing styles, international officiating, etc.
"We are very pleased with the skill level that was shown from these young players at the NIKE Skills Development Selection Camp this past week," said Gaëtan Robitaille, General Manager, Women's High Performance Programs. "The effort of promoting skill development in women's hockey at the Branch and National levels is evident in our up and coming players for the women's program."