CALGARY, Alta. – Hockey Canada announced Thursday the 31 players who have been invited to the National Women’s Under-18 Team selection camp, taking place from December 17-19 at the MasterCard Centre in Toronto, Ont.
In total, 20 players will be chosen to represent Canada at the 2011 IIHF World Women’s Under-18 Championship, set for January 1-8 in Stockholm, Sweden, where the National Women’s Under-18 Team will look to defend the gold medal it won last April in Chicago, Ill.
In addition, Hockey Canada announced that France Montour (Edmonton, Alta.) and Cassandra Turner (Campbellford, Ont.) will serve as assistant coaches at the 2011 IIHF World Women’s Under-18 Championship, alongside head coach Sarah Hodges (Regina, Sask.), who was named to the position in July and served as head coach of the women’s U18 team during a three-game series against the United States in Lake Placid, N.Y. in August.
Montour was also an assistant coach for the National Women’s Under-18 Team during that series and currently coaches Midget girls in the St. Albert Minor Hockey Association. Turner worked as a coach at the National Women’s Under-22 Team selection camp in Toronto in August and is currently an assistant coach with the Quinnipiac University women’s hockey team.
The trio of coaches, with the help of Hockey Canada scouts, will select the 20 members of the National Women’s Under-18 Team based on a series of practices and intersquad Red-White games to take place during the three-day selection camp in Toronto. The public is invited to attend these on-ice sessions.
The 31 players invited to the camp include three goaltenders, 10 defencemen and 18 forwards. Defenceman Erin Ambrose (Keswick, Ont.) and forward Emily Fulton (Stratford, Ont.) return after helping Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team win its first-ever gold medal at the 2010 IIHF World Women’s Under-18 Championship in Chicago. Canada took silver at the first two U18 world championships, 2008 in Calgary, Alta. and 2009 in Füssen, Germany.
“We’re excited to get to Toronto and see how this season’s National Women’s Under-18 Team unfolds on the ice,” said head coach Sarah Hodges. “The players invited to the selection camp are all extremely skilled and we’re confident those chosen to compete in Sweden will represent Canada with pride in their quest for success at this year’s world championship.”
The camp roster also includes all 22 members of the National Women’s Under-18 Team that played the United States in a three-game series in August (Ambrose, Bram, Connery, Davidson, Desbiens, Dufault, Edney, Fulton, Josephs, Kosta, MacDonnell, Makela, Mercer, Repaci, Robson, Roesler, Sheilds, Stacey, Turnbull, Woloschuk, Zgraja and Zuback), four players who attended the selection camp prior to that series (Crossley, Gagne, MacAulay and Odland) and two players who attended the National Women’s Program strength and conditioning camp held in Calgary, Alta. in May (Kohler and Luczak).
Three players invited to the selection camp, goaltender Jaimie Leonoff (Montreal, Que.), defenceman Melissa Channell (Oakville, Ont.) and forward Hailey Browne (Oakville, Ont.), are newcomers to the national program.
“All 31 players on this list are an important part of the National Women’s Program and represent the future of women’s hockey in Canada,” said Kalli Quinn, director of female national teams for Hockey Canada. “Don’t be surprised to see some of these players competing for spots to wear red and white on the ice in Sochi, Russia four years from now.”
For more information on Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team, please visit www.hockeycanada.ca.