By Dan Elliott (Manager, Media Relations)
Septembr 26, 2013, VANCOUVER – In anticipation of the 2013-14 Canada West regular season, the UBC Thunderbirds women’s hockey team hits the road for four exhibition games in four days in Minnesota. UBC will play the University of Minnesota, St. Cloud State, Minnesota State University, as well as the Japanese national team.
UBC WOMEN’S HOCKEY ROSTER: http://gothunderbirds.ca/roster.aspx?path=icew
“It’s an amazing opportunity for our group,” said Graham Thomas, the reigning CIS Coach of the Year. “We are playing the number one college hockey team in North America, as well as two good WCHA (Western Collegiate Hockey Association) teams and an Olympic team. This is a chance to come together as a team and play some top notch competition.”
The Thunderbirds kick off the tour Friday, Sept. 27 at the University of Minnesota, where they will take on the two-time defending NCAA national champion Gophers. Minnesota was perfect in 2012-13 finishing 41-0 and are currently riding a 49-game unbeaten streak. Puck drop is at 5 p.m. PST at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis.
The following evening, UBC will be in St. Cloud, Minn. to take on St. Cloud State. The Huskies were 9-24-3 in 2012-13 and lost in the opening round of the playoffs to the University of North Dakota. Game time is 5 p.m. PST at the newly minted Herb Brooks National Hockey Centre.
It will be a quick turnaround for the ‘Birds on Sunday as they will square off against the Japanese national team at 10 a.m. PST. Japan is one of eight teams that will compete at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. They are in the midst of a showcase tour taking on high level competition in preparation for the games. This will be just their second time competing at the Olympics. They finished sixth back in 1998 when Japan hosted the Olympics in Nagano.
UBC will wrap up the trip in Mankato, Minn. against the Minnesota State University Mavericks. The Mavericks finished 10-21-5 in 2012-13 and bowed out in the first round of the playoffs, losing to the University of Wisconsin. The opening face-off is set 4 p.m. PST at All Seasons Arena.
“This will be very good preparation for our season,” said Thomas. “It’s a chance to play a lot of games in a short period time, bond as a team, and maybe even checkout the Mall of America.”
The Thunderbirds open up defence of their Canada West Championship when the regular season gets underway in Lethbridge with a pair of games against the Pronghorns Oct. 4-5.