The 18th edition of the IIHF Women’s World Hockey Championship begins today in Kamloops.
This is the first time that a city in British Columbia has hosted the event, as the best eight teams in the world descend upon the ‘Tournament Capital of Canada’.
The tournament begins with a bang on Day 1, as Canada plays USA at 7:30 pm on TSN. Those same two teams will (probably) play again for the gold medal on April 4.
Canada and the USA, you might remember, have quite the rivalry. The two countries have played each other in every gold medal final in this event’s history.
After winning the first eight World Championships in a row from 1990 to 2004, Canada has struggled to beat the Americans in this tournament. USA has won six of the last eight tournaments, including last year’s tournament in Malmo, Sweden.
The Olympics have been another story. Ironically, Canada has dominated after losing the first gold medal to USA in 1998. Since then, Canada has won four in a row, including 2006 when USA was upset by Sweden in the semi-final.
You may remember how how the last Olympic gold medal game went. If not, here’s a refresher…
Down 2-0 with under four minutes to play, Canada looked dead and buried.
That’s when Canada got a bounce. Brianne Jenner scored with 3:27 left to make it 2-1.
Then, Canada got another bounce, as the US hit post with 1:26 left.
With 54.6 seconds left, Marie-Philip Poulin came through, scoring the tying goal and sending the country into a frenzy.
Poulin clutched up again in overtime, winning the game for Canada on a 4-on-3 power play.
Given the stakes, it was probably the most dramatic women’s hockey game ever played.
The tournament format is a little bit different than what you may be expecting. The top-four teams in the world will play in Group A, with the top-two teams advancing directly to the semi-finals. The bottom-two teams from Group A will play the top-two teams from Group B in the quarter-finals.
The format makes a lot of sense given the disparity in skill level between the best and worst teams in women’s hockey.
Canada’s roster features 17 returning players from the 2015 World Championship team, along with 16 returnees from the 2015 Four Nations Cup team, and two players that will make their first appearance on the World Championship stage.
Canada has named a new captain, with today’s announcement that Olympic hero Marie-Philip Poulin will take over from Hayley Wickenheiser.
“Being named captain is an honour and a privilege,” said Poulin. “I remember watching the world championship and the Olympics and knowing that I’m wearing the ‘C’ like Cassie Campbell, Caroline Ouellette and Hayley Wickenheiser and all the players before me, I think it’s quite amazing. There are so many pioneers that have worn it, so I’m trying to follow in their footsteps.”
Meaghan Mikkelson and Meghan Agosta will serve as Canada’s alternate captains.
“We have so much depth and leadership on this team and it’s important for us to continue to build and develop our players by giving them the opportunity to guide our squad,” said Canadian head coach Laura Schuler. “Our team is confident that this group of players models the leadership qualities that come with wearing the Maple Leaf.”
|30||Emerance Maschmeyer||Goalie||21||Bruderheim, AB|
|32||Charline Labonté||Goalie||33||Boisbriand, QC|
|33||Erica Howe||Goalie||23||Orleans, ON|
|3||Jocelyne Larocque||Defence||27||Ste. Anne, MB|
|4||Brigette Lacquette||Defence||23||Mallard, MB|
|5||Lauriane Rougeau||Defence||25||Beaconsfield, QC|
|8||Laura Fortino||Defence||25||Hamilton, ON|
|12||Meaghan Mikkelson||Defence||31||St. Albert, AB|
|27||Tara Watchorn||Defence||25||Newcastle, ON|
|38||Halli Krzyzaniak||Defence||21||Neepawa, MB|
|2||Meghan Agosta||Forward||29||Ruthven, ON|
|6||Rebecca Johnston||Forward||26||Sudbury, ON|
|7||Jamie Lee Rattray||Forward||23||Kanata, ON|
|9||Jennifer Wakefield||Forward||26||Pickering, ON|
|11||Jillian Saulnier||Forward||24||Halifax, NS|
|17||Bailey Bram||Forward||25||Ste. Anne, MB|
|19||Brianne Jenner||Forward||24||Oakville, ON|
|22||Hayley Wickenheiser||Forward||37||Shaunavon, SK|
|24||Natalie Spooner||Forward||25||Scarborough, ON|
|29||Marie-Philip Poulin||Forward||25||Beauceville, QC|
|37||Sarah Davis||Forward||23||Paradise, NL|
|39||Emily Clark||Forward||20||Saskatoon, SK|
|40||Blayre Turnbull||Forward||22||Stellarton, NS|
The tournament will run for one week, with the gold medal game taking place at 7:30 pm on Monday, April 4. You can watch all of Canada’s games, as well as all of the knockout round games, live on TSN.
|Mon, Mar 28||Japan||Switzerland||McArthur Island Centre||1:00 PM|
|Mon, Mar 28||Finland||Russia||Sandman Centre||3:30 PM|
|Mon, Mar 28||Czech Republic||Sweden||McArthur Island Centre||5:00 PM|
|Mon, Mar 28||Canada||USA||Sandman Centre||7:30 PM|
|Tue, Mar 29||Czech Republic||Switzerland||McArthur Island Centre||1:00 PM|
|Tue, Mar 29||USA||Finland||Sandman Centre||3:30 PM|
|Tue, Mar 29||Sweden||Japan||McArthur Island Centre||5:00 PM|
|Tue, Mar 29||Russia||Canada||Sandman Centre||7:30 PM|
|Thu, Mar 31||Japan||Czech Republic||McArthur Island Centre||1:00 PM|
|Thu, Mar 31||Russia||USA||Sandman Centre||3:30 PM|
|Thu, Mar 31||Switzerland||Sweden||McArthur Island Centre||5:00 PM|
|Thu, Mar 31||Finland||Canada||Sandman Centre||7:30 PM|
|Fri, Apr 1||Relegation||McArthur Island Centre||1:00 PM|
|Fri, Apr 1||Quarter-final||Sandman Centre||3:30 PM|
|Fri, Apr 1||Quarter-final||Sandman Centre||7:30 PM|
|Sun, Apr 3||Relegation||McArthur Island Centre||1:00 PM|
|Sun, Apr 3||Semifinal||Sandman Centre||3:00 PM|
|Sun, Apr 3||5th Place||McArthur Island Centre||5:00 PM|
|Sun, Apr 3||Semifinal||Sandman Centre||7:30 PM|
|Mon, Apr 4||Relegation||McArthur Island Centre||12:00 PM|
|Mon, Apr 4||Bronze||Sandman Centre||3:00 PM|
|Mon, Apr 4||Gold||Sandman Centre||7:30 PM|