CALGARY -- Canada and the United States, the two top teams in women's hockey, will face-off against each other on Friday, at General Motors Place in Vancouver during NHL All-Star Weekend, Canadian Hockey announced on Wednesday.
The game is part of a high-energy weekend of hockey excitement surrounding the NHL All-Star game and will be part of the growing rivalry between Canadian and American women's Olympic teams as they prepare to compete in the first-ever women's hockey tournament at the Winter Games in Nagano, Japan in February.
On Thursday, January 15, from 4:00 - 5:30 p.m., Team Canada is holding an open practice as part of NHL FANtasy at the Pacific Coliseum, following which the players will be available for photo opportunities. Friday night, beginning at 7:30 p.m. PST, it will be Canada-USA at GM Place, a game to be televised live across Canada on TSN. On Saturday, Team Canada will participate in various FANtasy events and will also be available for photo opportunities. The NHL All-Star game will feature a new format this year, with a North American team playing NHL All-Stars from Europe, as organizers try to emphasize the international flavor of hockey, particularly in an Olympic year.
Reserved tickets for the Canada-USA game are $15 (plus GST and applicable service charges) and went on sale Monday, December 1 at all TicketMaster outlets. Imperial Oil, one of Canadian Hockey's four premier sponsors, has purchased 5,000 tickets for the game and has begun distributing them to Vancouver-area schoolchildren.
The game will be one of the final few pre-Olympic contests Canada will play before departing for Nagano, Japan in late January for the Winter Games and could well be a preview of the gold medal final at Nagano. The two teams have met in all four IIHF Women's World Hockey Championship tournaments held so far, with Canada winning each time. Heading into Nagano, the two rivals are extremely competitive and will have played each other 12 times by the time the Olympic tournament begins.
"It's a spectacular opportunity to be able to play against our toughest opponent on national TV during the NHL All-Star weekend," said Shannon Miller, head coach of the Canadian Women's Olympic Team. "It will be another important step for us as we prepare for the Olympics, but it also is a marvellous opportunity to help raise the profile of female hockey all across North America."