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Women's Worlds Recap - Canada 5, Switzerland 1

A hat trick from Sarah Fillier and three assists from Natalie Spooner sent Canada to play for gold in Brampton.

April 16, 2023

GAME STATS | LIVE BLOG

 

BRAMPTON, Ont.Canada’s National Women’s Team booked its spot in the gold medal game at the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship following a 5-1 semifinal win over Switzerland on Saturday night at the CAA Centre.

 

  • Sarah Fillier (Georgetown, Ont./Princeton University, ECAC) led the way for Canada with a hat trick, giving her a tournament-leading seven goals.
  • Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, Ont./PWHPA) and Rebecca Johnston (Sudbury, Ont./PWHPA) also scored.
  • Natalie Spooner (Scarborough, Ont./PWHPA) contributed three assists.
  • Erin Ambrose (Keswick, Ont./PWHPA), Jaime Bourbonnais (Mississauga, Ont./PWHPA), Emma Maltais (Burlington, Ont./Ohio State University, WCHA), Sarah Nurse (Hamilton, Ont./PWHPA), Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que./PWHPA) and Claire Thompson (Toronto, Ont./PWHPA) added an assist each.
  • Ann-Renée Desbiens (Clermont, Que./PWHPA) stopped eight of nine shots.
  • Canada outshot Switzerland 59-9.

 

Following the game, Poulin, Renata Fast (Burlington, Ont./PWHPA) and Blayre Turnbull (Stellarton, N.S./PWHPA) were named Canada’s top three players of the tournament.

 

Next Game:

 

Canada vs. United States (gold medal game) – Sunday, April 16, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.

 

Quotes:

 

“I think we were pretty happy with our start. We knew eventually we were going to wear them down and something was going to go in. It was about sticking to our plan and not getting individual, and that’s what we did. Overall, we’re also super happy with how everyone played, everyone up and down the lineup got in, which was nice especially as we have back-to-back games and the opportunity to play for a gold medal.”

  • Fillier on a total team effort

“I thought tonight we didn’t give them much offensively and I thought we as a team were better offensively. We attacked the net more, mixed it with both high offence and low offence and scored a power-play goal. We’re excited to be in the situation and have the opportunity to play for a gold medal, but we’re not looking ahead. We still have to break down tonight’s game and see what we can learn, but we still have little improvements to make as a group and hopefully between tonight and tomorrow we can do that.”

  • Head coach Troy Ryan (Spryfield, N.S.) on his team peaking at the right time

“I think when you play really good goaltenders, it makes you a better goal scorer. It really does start from our group in the sense that with Ann-Renee, Emerance and Soupy (Kristen Campbell), those are some of the best goaltenders in the world. The fact that we can practice against them really enables us to be able to put what we practice into games, so when you can get 40 or 50 shots on goal a couple are going to end up in the back of the net.”

  • Nurse on the team’s 113 shots on goal the last two games

 

For more information on Hockey Canada and Canada’s National Women’s Team, please visit HockeyCanada.ca or follow through social media on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Rivalry Series schedule announced for 2024-25 season

Five-game series includes Canadian stops in Halifax and Summerside

NR.043.24
|
July 09, 2024

CALGARY, Alberta – Hockey Canada, in partnership with USA Hockey, has announced the return of the Rivalry Series between Canada’s National Women’s Team and the United States for the 2024-25 season, featuring two stops in Atlantic Canada.

The 2024-25 Rivalry Series will feature five games, with Canada set to play host in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in February. The first Canadian stop will see the cross-border rivals face off at Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, home of the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. AT. The teams will then travel to Summerside, P.E.I., to play at Credit Union Place, home of the Summerside Western Capitals of the Maritime Hockey League (MHL), on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. AT.

“We are excited to renew our partnership with USA Hockey to deliver the Rivalry Series, and to provide the best Canadian and American players an opportunity to showcase women’s hockey with games in Halifax and Summerside,” said Hockey Canada president and chief executive officer Katherine Henderson (Thunder Bay, ON). “The series has been a must-see event for hockey fans across Canada since 2018, and it has been instrumental in helping to grow the girls’ and women’s game across North America. We look forward to once again treating fans to five great hockey games and leaving a lasting impact and legacy in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island this season.”

“Halifax and Summerside have proven to be successful international hockey hosts, and we know both communities will embrace the opportunity to welcome and cheer on the best players from Canada and the United States as they compete in the Rivalry Series in February 2025,” said D’Arcy Hutcheson (Barrie, ON), director of events with Hockey Canada. “The Rivalry Series has become a fan-favourite event on the international hockey calendar, and the teams will enjoy facing off in front of passionate hockey fans in two great Canadian communities.”

Tickets for the games in Halifax and Summerside will be available for purchase at HockeyCanada.ca/Tickets at a later date.

Hockey Canada and its Members will announce grassroots initiatives that will take place leading up to the Rivalry Series games in both Canadian stops in the coming months, ensuring the next generation of the game can engage with Canada’s National Women’s Team.

“The Rivalry Series is a great event for players and fans alike, and I know the impact an event like this can have on young players in communities across the country. I am excited that hockey fans in the Maritimes will have the opportunity to take in two games and cheer on Team Canada next season,” said Team Canada forward Blayre Turnbull (Stellarton, NS/Toronto, PWHL). “Fans on the East Coast always embrace the opportunity to watch Canada compete and we know the atmosphere will be incredible, and it will be even more special for me to have a chance to play in my home province and two incredible communities that are close to my hometown.”

The series will kick off with a trio of games in the United States in November, with the teams opening the series at the Tech CU Arena in San Jose, California, on Wednesday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. PT. The American portion of the Rivalry Series will also include stops at the Maverik Center in West Valley City, Utah, on Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. PT and Idaho Central Arena in Boise, Idaho, on Sunday, Nov. 10 at 5 p.m. MT.

TSN and RDS, the official broadcast partners of Hockey Canada, will broadcast all five Rivalry Series games; please check local listings for details.

Last year, the Rivalry Series ended in thrilling fashion for a second-straight year, with Canada’s National Women’s Team winning four-straight games to win the best-of-seven series in seven games. The Canadian games welcomed an average attendance of more than 6,200 fans per game in Kitchener, Sarnia, Saskatoon and Regina, including sell-outs in Kitchener, Sarnia and Regina. Ottawa, Kingston, Kelowna and Trois-Rivières also hosted Rivalry Series games over the past two seasons that featured sold-out crowds.

For more information on Hockey Canada and Canada’s National Women’s Team, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along via social media on Facebook , X and Instagram .

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Emerance Maschmeyer

In My Own Words: Emerance Maschmeyer

The National Women’s Team goaltender talks about life with partner Geneviève Lacasse, starting a family, being a trailblazer in the PWHL and the importance of being one’s true self

Emerance Maschmeyer
|
June 15, 2024

A few of our friends described it as a “hard launch.”

Geneviève and I decided not to officially “come out,” but instead we decided to just post the photos from our wedding last July. At that point, our friends, our families, our circle – the people who meant the most – all knew about our relationship.

We wondered if we needed to have a big coming out story. But we thought posting the photos of the day was a fun way of saying, “This is us. We got married,” like anyone else would post about getting married. It was time for us to just put ourselves out there and not be scared. There was so much love and support, and it was just so inspiring to see the effect we were able to have, just posting about our relationship.

We have a platform and influence, and we have people who follow our journeys. At the end of the day, those who support us will support us, and we want them in our lives, and we want to connect with them, but those who don’t, that’s all right.

We knew the impact we could have sharing our relationship and sharing our story; we knew there would be a positive impact, and we could help so many other individuals with their journey. And so maybe with age, there was some courage in telling our story, but we have all the support we need. So, for us, it was – how do we help others and support others now?

Going public was a huge weight lifted off our shoulders that neither of us recognized was there. And now I feel like we’re very open to having conversations, talking about our relationship and being our true selves. It’s been a rewarding journey. It was only a year ago, and it’s been so fun to just be out there and be us as a couple.

Geneviève and I started dating in 2015. I told my sister pretty early on about our relationship. Geneviève was the first woman that I ever dated. So, I also wanted to make sure that it was something, a longstanding relationship, before I told my entire family, which I would’ve done in any relationship that I was in.

I was in school at Harvard at the time, and so my teammates and friends at school knew early as well. And I knew I wanted to tell my family, but I wanted to do it in person. I didn’t want to make it a big deal, but I also know the norm in society is still, you’re heterosexual until you say otherwise. You have to come out and tell your story. I wanted to make it as normal as possible, but I also wanted to have in-person conversations with my family.

About a year after we started dating, I started telling my family. I told my parents one at a time. I went through my family. And I have a big family, so it was a lot of conversations. Being young, I was 20 years old, I was quite nervous about the conversations, but ultimately my family was so supportive– every conversation left me with ‘my family supports me and loves me no matter who I love.’ I know that’s not the case for everyone, but I am very fortunate to have a family that has my back no matter what. They were just happy I was in a loving relationship.

There were hesitations in coming out publicly, but it didn’t really have anything to do with our sexuality. It had everything to do with the fact that both of us were still active with the National Women’s Team, and we didn’t want our news to be about our relationship or our sexuality. We wanted it to be about hockey and our performance.

It’s certainly not easy when you and your partner share a profession. At the beginning, we had to say to each other that in many ways our relationship comes first, but we also have to put our own hockey first. And not in a selfish way, it’s more like… “If you do everything you can to make a team and to put yourself in a position to play, and I do everything I can to make a team and put myself in a position to play, then it’s not up to us. It’s up to the coach, it’s up to the scouts, it’s up to external factors.”

We were on the journey together, we were working hard and doing everything we could do individually, but when it came down to those decisions, we weren’t angry at each other. We could feel empathy if one played over the other, but at the end of the day, if one of us is in net, then it became, “Okay, I support you or you support me.”

We did have some bumps in the road along the way. I was released from the 2018 Olympics and she made the team. And then vice versa, in 2022, I made the Olympic team and she was released. This presented us with a big learning opportunity in our relationship. The first time around when I was released, we weren’t equipped with the skills to handle it. It was a big dream of mine to make that team and to play in the Olympics. And what do you say to your partner on either end, the one who makes it or the one who doesn’t? Navigating the situation and our dynamic was complex. We were supportive of one another, and to protect our relationship we felt that not talking about hockey was the best course.

The second time around, going into Beijing, we learned how to talk through it. We gained an understanding of how to have difficult conversations, to talk about how we feel. We wish that neither of those situations happened, but they actually made our relationship a lot stronger. We have acquired the skills to support each other and communicate through difficult situations, and recognize the importance of continuously practicing and refining those skills.

We found out we were pregnant in late 2023, a few months after we got married. We’re fortunate that we have friends that have gone through the fertility treatment process that we could use as a resource, and so we asked a lot of questions. We did a lot of research. We were living in Quebec, and luckily there’s funding to make the financial burden easier. Our journey to conception wasn’t long, and for that we are grateful.

It’s been quite a journey. We’re so excited to start our family and welcome our little boy to the world. It’s something that we had been wanting to do for so long, but having us both playing, it wasn’t really a possibility, especially without the salaries and security of a professional league. But now we’re finally in a position where I’m playing in the PWHL and Geneviève has security in her job as manager of corporate sponsorships and sales with the league. It’s the most security and stability we’ve had in a long time, and we’re excited to start our family.

We are looking forward to having our son grow up around strong women. And we know that he’ll grow up to respect women and look at women’s athletes as just athletes.

And I can’t forget the gender reveal! I was sitting on the bus with Emily Clark on a road trip this year, and we were chatting about doing a gender reveal, and just brainstorming some ideas. And then somehow it came up that it would be so fun to have an obstacle course and have the team involved. It evolved into Clark vs. Jenner, boy vs. girl, and went from there.

Geneviève and I gave them the link to the gender, because we wanted to be surprised as well. We set up one day after practice, and Clarky and Jenner, they came up with how the race would go. It turned out so good!

This year has been such a whirlwind. The wedding, the announcement of the PWHL, signing with Ottawa, finding out we were pregnant, launching the league, winning another world championship … hard to believe that’s only the last 11 months.

It’s been so incredible, the momentum that we have in the PWHL, the fandom, the support, the investment and the visibility. And just the growth that we’ve had within just our first season. Being a professional hockey player still feels surreal to me, but the pride I felt every time I stepped onto the ice with my teammates in Ottawa this season … it’s indescribable to be part of something so special.

Obviously, there’s still a long way to go for equity and parity, but we’ve made some huge steps in the past few years. Even in the grassroots now, there’s that ripple effect from the PWHL of getting women in sport and staying in sport.

At our games, I see young fans, not just young girls, but young boys too who just see us as hockey players. They don’t see us as women’s hockey players. They’re looking up to us like, “You’re my favourite player, you’re my favourite goalie.” They’re not saying, “You’re my favourite female goalie.” It’s been fantastic to see the shift in the mindset, and there are so many more stepping stones to come.

Because it is Pride Month, which means so much to me, I did want to end with a few thoughts.

Individually, everyone can look inward and see where they can do the work. I think often, people lead with assumptions when meeting someone. But we can all do a better job at letting them tell their story versus labelling them with, ‘You are this or you are that.’ It can be intimidating to be your true self because of preconceived assumptions.

Unfortunately, there’s going to be hate online. That’s unavoidable in the social media age we live in. But I think as much as we can, we need to hold on to the love and the support, and ensure the kind, loving, supportive voices drown out the negative ones.

As someone who’s in a same-sex relationship, I know that at times I can still be a little timid or discouraged to be my true self, but for those in our community, I encourage you to be as courageous as you can. Be your true self. If you come into a conversation and lead with your authentic self, it will start changing minds slowly. One person at a time.

We are moving in the right direction, and together is how we’re going to keep moving.

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Women’s Worlds Preview: Canada vs. United States

Sunday, April 14 | 5 p.m. ET | Utica, New York | Gold Medal Game

Jason La Rose, Shannon Coulter
|
April 14, 2024

GAME NOTES: CANADA VS. UNITED STATES (APRIL 14)

Here we go. Canada’s National Women's Team is one win away from a record-extending 13th gold medal at the IIHF Women’s World Championship, taking on the host Americans in the gold medal game Sunday night.

Last Game

Canada took care of business in the semifinals, shutting out Czechia 4-0 to advance to the gold medal game. Laura Stacey set up first-period goals for Blayre Turnbull and Jocelyne Larocque. Emily Clark and Sarah Fillier rounded out the scoring for the Canadians. Ann-Renée Desbiens made nine saves while Canada put 47 shots on Czechia’s Klara Peslarova.

The United States come into the gold medal game undefeated, earning a 5-0 shutout of Finland in the semifinals. University of Wisconsin forward Laila Edwards recorded a hat trick, with Hannah Bilka and Savannah Harmon finding the back of the net as well. Finland’s Sanni Ahola made 50 saves, while Aerin Frankel stopped 15 shots for the semifinal win.

Last Meeting 

The North American rivals played arguably the best game of the preliminary round last Monday, with the Canadians dropping a narrow 1-0 decision in overtime. Ann-Renée Desbiens was absolutely sensational, finishing with 29 saves, but Canada couldn’t solve Frankel. It marked just the third time in 184 all-time meetings that Canada and the U.S. went 60 minutes goalless – the other two were both in Women’s Worlds gold medal games, in 2005 and 2016.

What to Watch 

While names like Poulin, Nurse, Spooner and Fast get the headlines, Jocelyne Larocque continues to just go about her business quietly and effectively. Set to play in her 10th Women’s Worlds gold medal game, the Ste. Anne, Manitoba, product – who cracked list of top-10 oldest players to represent Canada at the tournament (she was 35 years, 10 months, 17 days for the prelim opener) – leads the Canadian contingent in time on ice (22:21 per game) and tops the tournament with a plus/minus of +15. She’s also chipped in with a goal and four assists in six games.

In order for Canada to have success today, they will need to find a way past Frankel. She has had a record-breaking tournament for the United States, allowing only three goals in five games, with a 0.59 goals-against average and a 0.962 saves percentage. With her semifinal shutout, the 24-year-old set the record for the most shutouts at a single Women’s Worlds with four.

A Look Back 

This will be the 22nd time Canada and the U.S. have met for gold at Women’s Worlds, with Canada holding a 12-9 edge in the first 21. Nor surprisingly, these two teams always seem to play a close game with a world title on the line.

Prior to last year’s 6-3 win for the Americans – which was a tie game with less than four minutes to go – seven of the previous eight gold medal games were one-goal contests, and the only outlier, in 2015, was a two-goal game. Those eight games included five that needed overtime – in 2011, 2012, 2016, 2017 and 2021.

All-time record: Canada leads 104-79-1 (23-20 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 508 
United States goals: 445

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Women’s Worlds Preview: Canada vs. Czechia

Saturday, April 13 | 7 p.m. ET | Utica, New York | Semifinal

Nicholas Pescod
|
April 12, 2024

Canada’s National Women's Team is into the final four at the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship, taking on Czechia in a Saturday night semifinal in Utica with a place in the gold medal game on the line.

Last Game

Canada booked its spot in the semifinals after downing Sweden 5-1 in its Thursday quarterfinal. Renata Fast scored twice, opening the scoring in the first period and adding insurance in the second, while Laura Stacey, Natalie Spooner and Jaime Bourbonnais rounded out the scoring for the Canadians. Jocelyne Larocque joined Fast as multi-point scorers, picking up a pair of assists, while Emerance Maschmeyer turned aside 17 of the 18 shots she faced.

Czechia secured its spot in the semifinals thanks to Daniela Pejsova, who got a point shot through traffic for the game’s only goal with 7:06 left to give the Czechs a 1-0 win over Germany. Klara Peslarova stopped all 24 shots the Germans threw her way for her second shutout of the tournament.

Last Meeting 

In preliminary-round play last Sunday, Kristin O’Neill scored two goals and provided an assist, Sarah Nurse contributed with two helpers and Ann-Renée Desbiens made 13 saves for the shutout as Canada blanked the Czechs 5-0.

What to Watch 

While Canada’s goaltending has been the focus, and rightfully so with Desbiens and Maschmeyer combining for a .973 save percentage through five games, let’s turn our attention to the bottom of the Canadian forward group. While the top unit has scored just twice (one of them an empty-netter), the fourth line of O’Neill between Danielle Serdachny and Julia Gosling has been terrific (O’Neill leads Canada in scoring), and the trio of Stacey, Blayre Turnbull and Emily Clark contributed the game-winning goal in the quarterfinals. Don’t sleep on the big guns, though; last year in the semifinals, Sarah Fillier potted a hat trick in a win over Switzerland.

Natálie Mlýnková is tearing it up for the Czechs. The 22-year-old is tied for second in goals with four and tied for second in points with six, and is the top scorer in the tournament not wearing the red, white and blue of the United States. For the trivia buffs, three Czechs — Anezka Cabelova, Tereza Plosova, and Adela Sapovalivova — can make history by winning a medal in Utica; they would join Marie-Philip Poulin (Canada, 2009), Susanna Tapani (Finland, 2011), and Nelli Laitnen and Viivi Vainikka (Finland, 2019) as the only players to win a medal at the IIHF U18 Women's World Championship and IIHF Women's World Championship in the same season.

A Look Back 

History is very, very recent between these two teams. They’ve only met twice – last year in Brampton and last weekend in Utica.

All-time record: Canada leads 2-0-0
Canada goals: 10 
Czechia goals: 1 

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Canada vs. Sweden

Women’s Worlds Preview: Canada vs. Sweden

Thursday, April 11 | 5 p.m. ET | Utica, New York | Quarterfinal

Nicholas Pescod
|
April 10, 2024

GAME NOTES: CANADA VS. SWEDEN (APRIL 11)

It’s on to the playoffs for Canada’s National Women's Team as it takes on Sweden in quarterfinal action Thursday at the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship.

Last Game

Ann-Renée Desbiens was sensational on Monday night, making 29 saves, but Canada closed out the preliminary round in Utica with a 1-0 overtime loss to the United States to finish second in Group A. Laura Stacey and Natalie Spooner led the Canadian offence with four shots on goal apiece.

Like the Canadians, the Swedes are also coming into the quarters on the heels of a 1-0 defeat. Sweden dropped its final preliminary game against Germany on Monday, despite outshooting the Germans 32-24 —forward Lina Ljungblom had seven of the Swedes’ 32 shots.

Last Meeting 

Canada narrowly avoided the upset in the quarterfinals a year ago at Women’s Worlds in Brampton, escaping with a 3-2 victory thanks to overtime heroics from Sarah Nurse. Nurse scored a pair in that game, while Blayre Turnbull added the other for the Canadians, who finished with a 54-14 advantage in shots but ran up against a red-hot Emma Söderberg in the Swedish goal.

What to Watch 

The obvious storyline here is goaltending. Ann-Renée Desbiens was nothing short of terrific through the preliminary round, fashioning a tournament-leading .974 save percentage and 0.65 goals-against average through three starts, capped by a 29-save clinic against the Americans. And if Canada decides it wants to save Desbiens for the weekend, Emerance Maschmeyer is a heck of a backup; she was perfect in her lone prelim start against Switzerland, stopping all 12 shots she faced in a 3-0 win to post her sixth shutout in 13 all-time appearances at Women’s Worlds.

For the Swedes — Lina Ljungblom, Hilda Svensson, Hanna Olsson and Söderberg. Seventeen-year-old Svensson forced overtime against Canada a year ago, tying the game with just 10 seconds to go, and sits tied for second in goals (three) and tied for second in points (five) through the prelims. Svensson leads all players in shots with 29 and had the other goal in the quarterfinal defeat in Brampton. Meanwhile, Olsson owns a tournament-leading 72.15% faceoff percentage, which puts her slightly ahead of Marie-Philip Poulin, and Söderberg has been terrific again, allowing only four goals in three games.

A Look Back 

Canada remains unbeaten against the Swedes at Women’s Worlds, owning an 11-0 record. New York has also been historically good to Canada when it comes to playing Sweden; it owns a 4-1 record in the Empire State, with the last meeting occurring at the 2013 4 Nations Cup in Lake Placid. Natalie Spooner scored twice to help the Canadians to a 4-3 win.

All-time record: Canada leads 79-2-1
Canada goals: 509 
Sweden goals: 70 

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Clarke continues to climb the ranks

From small-town Drake to the Olympic Winter Games, Alex Clarke has broken barriers and inspired young officials on what has been a unique hockey journey

Jonathan Yue
|
April 08, 2024

If it wasn’t for a disgruntled cow, Alex Clarke might not have become one of the best and most respected officials in the world.

It was the spring of 2015 and Clarke (then going by her maiden name, Alex Blair) had just been drafted 53rd overall by the Calgary Inferno of the now-defunct Canadian Women’s Hockey League when was she kicked by a cow on her family farm, resulting in a lingering knee injury.

"I wasn't able to properly train throughout the summer. So, the decision was kind of made for me not to go to [Inferno training] camp and try out that fall,” recalls Clarke, who played three seasons with the Weyburn Gold Wings of the Saskatchewan Female U18 AAA Hockey League (SFU18AAAHL) before playing NCAA Division III hockey at the College of St. Scholastica in Minnesota.

But when the door on Clarke's playing career closed, another opened.

"I knew I wanted to stay involved in hockey," she recalls. "I had previously thought that maybe coaching was a good avenue for me, but at the time I was 22 years old and my personality just doesn't fit well with standing on a bench and being tied to a team schedule. So, I ended up pursuing officiating instead."

Since then, Clarke has skyrocketed through the officiating ranks. A native of Drake, Saskatchewan (population 197), she has worked in her home province in the SFU18AAAHL and Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), nationally at the Esso Cup and internationally at the IIHF Women's World Championship.

In 2021 she became the first woman to officiate in the Western Hockey League (she also was the first woman to work a WHL game as a referee earlier this season) and on Dec. 5, 2021 she became the first woman to work a game in the American Hockey League.

“My love for the game is what inspires me to get out there,” Clarke says about being an official. “It's a place where I get to go and forget about everything else that’s going on. I get to have fun. I get to be with friends.

“Since I've had success, and I've been a little bit more recognized, it means a lot more to me to go out there and know that I'm somebody that people see as a trailblazer as the only female in certain leagues.”

The past few years in particular have been quiet the ride for Clarke, who reached the pinnacle of international hockey when she worked as a linesperson at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing, and earlier this year she began calling games in the new Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL). Most recently, she officiated the PWHL 3-on-3 Showcase during the NHL All-Star Weekend in Toronto.

“It’s felt natural,” Clarke says of her progression as an official. “Aside from the 2021-22 season where I jumped around lot of leagues at the same time, its very similar to being a player. Being scouted [and] evaluated, and when I was ready to be put into the next level, I was ready and determined to be capable. I’ve had a lot of good experiences and never felt like I was over my head.”

Inspiring the next generation

While her pathway to becoming an official was a certainly unique, Clarke says she wouldn’t have chosen any other scenario.

“[When I was looking into getting into officiating,]Hockey Saskatchewan was really good,” Clarke recalls. “They welcomed me with open arms. After knowing my hockey background, they invited me to a referee camp and when I arrived, they were so welcoming and immediately felt like part of the family.”

As an official, Clarke hopes to show that there are many pathways to being involved in hockey and she hopes to have the opportunity to mentor more young officials.

“Anybody that’s looking to get into officiating, I would say go into it with open eyes and an open perspective,” Clarke says. “I went in for the love of the game and the desire to improve and take feedback, and it’s probably going to take you places that you probably didn’t expect.”

With the growth of women’s hockey over the last few years, Clarke has realized the importance of being a role model on the ice, even as an official. Clarke believes the added spotlight on women’s hockey thanks to the PWHL is making a huge difference.

“I have a four-and-a-half-year-old daughter, and she’s really starting to be impressionable,” says Clarke, who also has a young son. “This season, I brought the family with me to the NHL All-Star Game, and to see her reaction and having her talk about Natalie Spooner and Sarah Nurse, she wants to be around hockey. She has so much more interest and investment in it because she’s seeing other women as great examples.

“I think it just resonates with a lot of people and little girls and boys are now able to see women and moms and full-grown adults out on the ice and in the arenas, you just get a sense of equality for everybody to achieve those goals.”



As more and more leagues, such as the AHL, include women officials, Clarke hopes to continue the push for women to take the next step. With her experience at NHL All-Star Weekend, Clarke believes we could be seeing women referees in NHL games soon.

“Getting a female into the NHL, it may be two years away, it may be 10 years away, but if I can help play a role in getting a female there, whether that’s me or somebody I can mentor and develop and inspire to take that next step, I think that’s helping progress female officials as a whole, I’m looking to have an impact on the next generation.”

Aside from that, Clarke’s long-term goal is to be at the 2026 Olympic Games in Milan, Italy. But for now, her eyes are set on the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championships in Utica, New York.

“I want to earn a spot to be in the gold medal game,” Clarke says. “We as officials are competing out there and we want to earn that gold medal spot too. Ultimately, I want to have fun and better myself and the people around me.”

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Women’s Worlds Preview: Canada vs. United States

Monday, April 8 | 7 p.m. ET | Utica, New York | Preliminary Round

Nicholas Pescod
|
April 07, 2024

GAME NOTES: CANADA VS. UNITED STATES (APRIL 8)

Canada’s National Women's Team faces a familiar foe as the preliminary round comes to a close at the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship, taking on its neighbours to the south in a battle of unbeatens with first place in Group A on the line.

Last Game

Canada made made it back-to-back-back wins and back-to-back shutouts Sunday, blanking Czechia 5-0. Kristin O'Neill led the way with three points, scoring twice and adding an assist in the first period, Danielle Serdachny, Renata Fast and Laura Stacey also scored, and Ann-Renée Desbiens stopped all 13 shots she faced as Canada outshot the Czechs 42-13.

The United States outlasted Finland 5-3 on Saturday night for its third-consecutive win in the preliminary round. Kendall Coyne Schofield, who scored twice, Abbey Murphy, Hilary Knight and Taylor Heise powered the Americans to victory.

Last Meeting 

For the second year in a row, Canada pulled off a reverse sweep over the United States, downing it 6-1 in Game 7 of the Rivalry Series in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Feb. 11. Natalie Spooner and Emma Maltais each found the back of the net twice, while Marie-Philip Poulin and Ashton Bell also scored. Desbiens was excellent, stopping 24 of 25 to record the victory.

What to Watch 

Although it has been quiet through two games, Canada’s top line of Sarah Filler, Marie-Philip Poulin and Brianne Jenner have been very good against the Americans over the years. The trio have a combined 132 points (69-63—132) in 197 games all-time against the U.S., and Jenner had two goals the last time the rivals met at Women’s Worlds. Oh, and for those keeping track, Jenner is just two goals away from 50 with Canada’s National Women’s Team, which would make her just the 13th to reach that milestone.

The Americans are leaning on their big guns, with Coyne Schofield, Knight, Alex Carpenter and Caroline Harvey ranking in the top six in tournament scoring, with Coyne Schofield – who missed last year’s Women’s Worlds before giving birth to son Drew in July – leading the way with six points (3-3—6). Knight, of course, is the leading scorer in the history of the IIHF Women’s World Championship, with the five points she has accumulated through three games giving her 106 (63-43—106) in her storied career.

A Look Back 

Canada owns a 5-3-1 record against the United States in New York. The last time these two teams did battle in the Empire State was in the preliminary round at the 2013 4 Nations Cup in Lake Placid. Canada won that one 4-2 thanks to goals from Jenner, Spooner, Haley Irwin and Mélodie Daoust.

All-time record: Canada leads 104-78-1 (23-19 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 508
United States goals: 444

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Women’s Worlds Preview: Canada vs. Czechia

Sunday, April 7 | 3 p.m. ET | Utica, New York | Preliminary Round

Nicholas Pescod
|
April 06, 2024

GAME NOTES: CANADA VS. CZECHIA (APRIL 7) 

Canada’s National Women's Team looks to make it three in a row in prelim play when it takes on Czechia at the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship on Sunday afternoon.

Last Game 

Canada made it back-to-back wins with a 3-0 shutout victory over Switzerland on Friday. Emma Maltais got Canada on the board just 70 seconds after the puck dropped, Sarah Nurse scored less than seven minutes later and Sarah Filler added an empty-netter late in the third period. Emerance Maschmeyer was terrific in a 17-save effort, posting her sixth career shutout in just 13 starts at Women’s Worlds.

The Czechs found themselves on the wrong end of a 6-0 result against the United States on Friday. Klara Peslarova stayed busy between the pipes, making double-digit saves in every period and finishing with 42 stops. Czechia had five power plays in the first 25 minutes but couldn’t find the back of the net, and no skater registered more than two shots.

Last Meeting 

It was exactly one year ago to the day that the Canadians and Czechs clashed for the first time, meeting in the preliminary round at Women’s Worlds in Brampton. Marie-Philip Poulin scored pair of goals, including the 100th of her decorated international career, Blayre Turnbull added a goal and three assists, and Brianne Jenner and Jocelyne Larocque had two helpers each as part of a 5-1 win for Canada.

What to Watch 

How about the trio of Maltais, Nurse and Natalie Spooner? All three found the scoresheet against the Swiss – Maltais and Nurse with goals, Spooner with an assist – and Maltais has tallied the game-winner in both games in Utica. Add in the pre-tournament win over Finland in Kingston (Maltais and Nurse had a goal and an assist each, and Spooner added a helper) and the PWHL Toronto teammates have been driving the offence for Canada.

Seventeen-year-old Adela Sapovaliova is the one to watch on the ice, but we’ll turn our attention behind the bench. The Czechs have won 11 of 16 games and a pair of bronze medals since Carla MacLeod took over as head coach prior to the 2022 Women’s Worlds, with all five defeats coming at the hands of Canada and the U.S. The PWHL Ottawa bench boss is no stranger to international hockey; she won two Olympic gold medals (2006, 2010) and a world title (2007) with Canada’s National Women’s Team, and was MVP of the 2009 Women’s Worlds.

A Look Back 

Not much history to talk about here; as mentioned above, the meeting last year in Brampton was their first.

All-time record: Canada leads 1-0-0
Canada goals: 5 
Czechia goals: 1 

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Women’s Worlds Preview: Canada vs. Switzerland

Friday, April 5 | 3 p.m. ET | Utica, New York | Preliminary Round

Nicholas Pescod
|
April 05, 2024

GAME NOTES: CANADA VS. SWITZERLAND (APRIL 5) 

It’s a very quick turnaround for Canada’s National Women's Team, which resumes preliminary-round play Friday when it takes on Switzerland at the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship, less than 18 hours after closing out its tournament opener.

Last Game 

Canada opened the prelims on a historic note, picking up its 100th Women’s Worlds win by downing Finland 4-1 on Thursday night. Ella Shelton had a goal and two assists, Julia Gosling scored in her world championship debut and Ann-Renée Desbiens was terrific in a 32-save performance.

The Swiss started with a 4-0 loss to the host Americans on Wednesday. Andrea Brändli was busy between the pipes, finishing with 51 saves, but Switzerland could manage just 11 shots on the U.S. goal, with a team-high three coming from 18-year-old Ivana Wey in her first Women’s Worlds game.

Last Meeting 

Canada and Switzerland last faced off in the semifinals at the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Brampton. Sarah Fillier scored a hat trick, Natalie Spooner set up three goals, and Jamie Lee Rattray and Rebecca Johnston added a goal each as the Canadians booked their place in the gold medal game with a 5-1 victory.

What to Watch 

Two words. Sarah Fillier. She may have been held off the scoresheet against the Finns, but the Georgetown, Ontario, product has been historically good against the Swiss. In eight career games, Fillier has recorded 15 points (9-6—15), including four goals and a helper in two meetings a year ago in Brampton. Of course, she has been pretty darn good against anybody at Women’s Worlds, putting up 28 points (15-13—28) in 22 games on the international stage.

For the Swiss, it has to be Alina Müller. The lone PWHL player on the Swiss roster, Müller – the No. 3 pick in the inaugural PWHL Draft – is having a great season for Boston, putting up a team-leading 13 points (3-10—13) in 19 games. She’s also been pretty good internationally, recording four goals and 10 points in seven games a year ago in Brampton – including the lone goal for Switzerland in its semifinal loss to Canada – and posting the same stat line at the 2022 Olympics in Beijing.

A Look Back 

Canada hasn’t played the Swiss often in the grand scheme, facing off just 19 times since 1997, but they’ve been frequent foes lately, facing off in the prelims and semifinals at each of the last three Women’s Worlds, and in Beijing.

Prior to their final-four face-off in Brampton, the Canadians and Swiss met in the prelim opener for both; in that one, Spooner and Sarah Nurse led the way with a goal and an assist each, and Desbiens posted a 12-save shutout in a 4-0 win for Canada.

All-time record: Canada leads 19-0-0
Canada goals: 152 
Switzerland goals: 9 

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Canada vs. Finland

Women’s Worlds Preview: Canada vs. Finland

Thursday, April 4 | 7 p.m. ET | Utica, New York | Preliminary Round

Nicholas Pescod
|
April 04, 2024

GAME NOTES: CANADA VS. FINLAND (APRIL 4) 

Let the games begin! Canada’s National Women's Team kicks off preliminary round play Thursday at the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship, facing off against Finland at the Adirondack Bank Center. 

Last Meeting 

Canada earned an 8-2 pre-tournament victory over Finland last Saturday in Kingston, Ontario, scoring the game’s final seven goals to erase a second-period deficit. In all, seven different skaters found the back of the net, led by Blayre Turnbull, who scored twice and added an assist in the exhibition win. 

Last Game 

We already talked about the last game, so how about the one before that? Canada scored a 6-1 victory over the United States in Game 7 of the Rivalry Series on Feb. 11 to complete the reverse sweep for the second year in a row in St. Paul, Minnesota. Natalie Spooner and Emma Maltais finished with two goals and an assist each for the Canadians, while Ann-Renée Desbiens made 24 saves.

Finland fell 4-0 to Czechia in its preliminary-round opener on Wednesday. Sanni Ahola stopped 29 of the 31 shots she faced — the Czechs had two empty-netters — in what was the first penalty-free game in Women's Worlds history. Noora Tulus led the way with four shots on goal for the Finns, who were outshot 33-21.

What to Watch 

With an average age of 28 years, two months and 20 days, Canada is icing its oldest roster ever at Women’s Worlds, with captain Marie-Philip Poulin back for her 12th appearance, veteran defender Jocelyne Larocque set for her 11th, and Spooner and Brianne Jenner both ready for their 10th. But head coach Troy Ryan has a few young guns at his disposal, including Sarah Fillier and Danielle Serdachny, both of whom were top-10 finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Award as the best player in NCAA women’s hockey, and cousins Julia and Nicole Gosling, who both registered their first Team Canada goals in the exhibition win Saturday.

Jenni Hiirikoski is returning for a record 16th Women's Worlds. The Finnish captain – seven times the Top Defender at the tournament – continues to be a big part of Finland's success on the international stage — she finished tied for fifth in scoring (3-8—11) a year ago in Brampton, second among all blue-liners. Petra Nieminen is also back following her stand-out performance last spring when she finished second in tournament scoring (6-7—13). The 24-year-old was red hot this year with Luleå HF in the Swedish Women’s Hockey League, leading the league with 24 goals and sitting fourth with 45 points in 33 regular-season games. 

A Look Back 

Canada may have the upper hand all-time, having lost just twice and tying once in 89 meetings, but the Finns are no pushover. 

These two teams have faced each other six previous times in the Empire State, the most recent coming in the 2013 4 Nations Cup gold medal game in Lake Placid, when Canada downed the Finns 6-3 to capture its 13th tournament title. Vicki Bendus had a goal and two assists, Jenelle Kohanchuk scored twice, and Jenner, Jennifer Wakefield and Haley Irwin were the other Canadian goal-scorers. 

All-time record: Canada leads 86-2-1 
Canada goals: 460 
Finland goals: 114 

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For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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