OTTAWA -- Forwards Laura Leslie and Marianne Grnak, who both helped Canada win gold at the 1994 Women's World Hockey Championships, were among six players released on Friday as Canada's National Women's team trimmed its roster for the 3 Nations Cup Tournament.
The others cut included goalie Brenda Denault, from Barrie, Ont., defenceman Lynn Landry, of St. Joseph, N.B., and forwards Martine Berube of Montreal and Cyndy Cryderman of Beamsville, Ont.
"I think it (cutting former medal winners) comes with progress," said head coach Shannon Miller. "Competition for spots on the national team is getting tougher and tougher. There have been changes in the past and there will be changes in the future."
The cuts leave Canada with 27 players on its roster on the eve of the three-team tournament, which opens on Sunday in Ottawa when Canada plays Finland at the Jim Durrell Arena in Ottawa. The other team in the inaugural tournament is the United States.
Two of the remaining Canadian players -- Stacy Wilson of Moncton, and Danielle Goyette of St-Nazaire, Que. -- are recovering from separated shoulders and unavailable to play.
The 3 Nations Cup is the last major competition the teams will have before the Women's World Championships in Kitchener, Ont., which run from March 31 to April 6. Each team may dress only 20 players -- 18 skaters and two goaltenders -- but Miller said carrying extra players was part of the plan.
"This is a developmental competition for us and we will try to get a read on all our players with an eye to building the roster for the World Championships," she said. "We are going to put people into their roles (during the tournament) in order to test them."
Canada's tournament roster leaves them with three goaltenders, including double world championship gold medalist Manon Rheaume of Lac Beauport, Que., and nine defencemen, including triple gold medallists Judy Diduck of Edmonton and Geraldine Heaney of Toronto.
The 15 forwards include eight players who have won at least one world championship gold medal. Among them are: Angela James of Thornhill, Ont., a veteran of three world titles, Karen Nystrom, of Scarborough, a two-time gold-medalist, and Nancy Drolet of Drummondville, Que., who also helped Canada win gold in 1992 in Tampere, Finland and in 1994 at Lake Placid, N.Y.
The Canadian team enters the tournament with two coaches -- head coach Miller and assistant Daniele Sauvageau. A second assistant, Melody Davidson, participated in the evaluation camp but will not be with the team during the tournament.
"We felt we had three excellent coaches, but we weren't all going in the same direction, so we decided to go forward with two coaches," said Bob Nicholson, Canadian Hockey's senior vice-president, hockey operations.
The tournament, which runs from Oct. 20 to 27, is a double round-robin, meaning each team plays the others twice. The top two teams at the end of round-robin play will face off in the tournament final on Sunday, Oct. 27 at the Civic Centre in Ottawa.
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