CALGARY, AB – Canada’s National Women’s Under-22 Team will leave Sunday, December 31 for Germany, where they will take part in the 2007 European Air Canada Cup, January 3-7, 2007 in Ravensburg.
Canada’s roster will include the same 22 players that took part in a three-game exhibition series against the USA in Ottawa, ON in August. Canada won that series two games to one, outscoring the Americans 9-2 in the process.
“Usually we have one or two injuries from the summer team, so it’s nice to be able to take all of the same players,” says head coach Nancy Wilson, who was an assistant coach on the summer team. “They played extremely well against the Americans in August, and a lot of them have had terrific season (with their club teams), so we’re very excited about the tournament.”
The Canadians will be led in goal by Shannon Szabados (Edmonton, AB) and Laura Hosier (Sharon, ON). Szabados has helped the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Ft. Saskatchewan Traders to first place in the AJHL’s North Division, and will play in January’s AJHL All-Star Game. She also made her first appearance for the National Women’s Team at the 4 Nations Cup in November in Kitchener, ON, going 2-0 with a shutout against the USA in her debut.
Hosier, along with Meghan Agosta (Ruthven, ON), Valerie Chouinard (Matane, QC) and Stephanie Jones (Grande Prairie, AB) are members of the Mercyhurst College women’s hockey team, the top-ranked team in NCAA women’s hockey.
Defenseman Catherine Ward (Montreal, QC) is a member of McGill University, the top-ranked team in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) women’s hockey.
In addition to Szabados and Agosta, Annie Guay (Rouyn-Noranda, QC), Bobbi Jo Slusar (Swift Current, SK), Tessa Bonhomme (Sudbury, ON) and Sarah Vaillancourt (Sherbrooke, QC) were also members of Canada’s 4 Nations Cup-winning team.
Canada is the four-time defending champion at the European Air Canada Cup, having won every tournament since its inception in 2003, losing only once in 12 games. After four years as a four-team, round-robin event featuring Canada, Germany, Finland and Switzerland, teams from Russia and Japan have been added to make it a six-team event. Canada, Germany and Japan make up Pool B, while Russia, Switzerland and Finland comprise Pool A.