by Andre Brin
January 19, 2014, CALGARY, Alta. (ISN) – Hockey Canada announced Sunday that Caroline Ouellette (Montreal, Que./Montreal, CWHL) and Sidney Crosby (Cole Harbour, N.S./Pittsburgh, NHL) will serve as captain of Canada’s National Women’s Team and Canada’s National Men’s Team, respectively, at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, while Greg Westlake (Oakville, Ont.) will captain Canada’s National Sledge Team at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
It is the first time any of the three have captained Canada at an Olympic Winter Games or Paralympic Winter Games.
Caroline Ouellette is a three-time Olympic gold medallist, winning gold with Canada’s National Women’s Team in 2002, 2006 and 2010. She has also helped Canada to gold medals at the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2012, scoring the overtime winner in the 2012 gold medal game, and silver medals in 2005, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2013. A member of Canada’s National Women’s Team since 1999, Ouellette is the third-leading scorer in national team history, recording 238 points (85 goals, 153 assists) in 210 games.
Hayley Wickenheiser (Shaunavon, Sask./University of Calgary, CIS) will serve as a permanent alternate captain for Canada’s National Women’s Team, while Jayna Hefford (Kingston, Ont./Brampton, CWHL) and Catherine Ward (Montreal, Que./Montreal, CWHL) will wear an ‘A’ on a rotating basis. All three won gold with Canada at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and Wickenheiser and Hefford will be appearing in their fifth Olympics.
“There is a tremendous amount of experience in our dressing room, and there is no shortage of qualified candidates to wear a letter,” said Kevin Dineen, head coach of Canada’s National Women’s Team. “The players we have selected as captain and alternates in Sochi have shown their dedication and commitment to the team and its end goal throughout a long season, and we feel they are the ideal choices to lead our team through the Olympic experience.”
Sidney Crosby won a gold medal with Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, scoring the game-winning goal in overtime of the gold medal game. He also represented Canada at 2006 IIHF World Championship, leading the tournament in scoring and earning Top Forward honours, and won a pair of medals with Canada’s National Junior Team at the IIHF World Junior Championship, silver at the 2004 tournament and gold in 2005. Crosby made his international debut with Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under-18 Team at the 2003 Junior World Cup, winning a gold medal and leading the team in scoring as an under-age player.
Jonathan Toews (Winnipeg, Man./Chicago, NHL) and Shea Weber (Sicamous, B.C./Nashville, NHL) will serve as alternate captains for Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team. Both won gold at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and both won gold medals with Canada’s National Junior Team at the IIHF World Junior Championship; Toews in 2006 and 2007, Weber in 2005.
“Sidney, Jonathan and Shea have been leaders on the international stage in the past, as well as with their NHL teams,” said Mike Babcock, head coach of Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team. “These three players will be at the forefront of our efforts in Sochi, but we are confident we have 25 players on our roster that will lead in their own way and allow our team to be successful.”
Greg Westlake has been captain of Canada’s National Sledge Team since the start of the 2010-11 season, leading Canada to a gold medal at the 2013 IPC Sledge Hockey World Championship, and bronze at the world championship in 2011. The 2014 Paralympic Winter Games will be his third Paralympics; he won gold at the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy, and finished fourth in Vancouver. He also won a gold medal with Canada at the 2008 IPC Sledge Hockey World Championship. Westlake has been a member of Canada’s National Sledge Team since 2003, and sits second in all-time national team scoring, with 250 points (126 goals, 124 assists) in 147 games.
Brad Bowden (Orton, Ont.) and Adam Dixon (Midland, Ont.) will serve as alternate captains for Canada’s National Sledge Team. Bowden has played in two previous Paralympic Winter Games, winning gold in 2006, and is a three-time world champion, in 2000, 2008 and 2013. Dixon will be making his second Paralympic appearance and won gold with Canada at the IPC Sledge Hockey World Championship in 2008 and 2013.
“This is the leadership team we have had in place since 2011, and we have the utmost confidence in them leading our team into Sochi,” said Mike Mondin, head coach of Canada’s National Sledge Team. “Greg, Brad and Adam have worn the Team Canada jersey with pride every time they have put it on, and have earned the right to wear a letter on the game’s biggest stage.”
The 2014 Olympic Winter Games run from Feb. 7-23 in Sochi, Russia, with the women’s tournament running from Feb. 8-20, and the men’s event from Feb. 12-23.
The 2014 Paralympic Winter Games run from March 7-16 in Sochi, Russia, with the sledge hockey tournament taking place from March 8-15.
For more information on Hockey Canada, its national teams, the 2014 Olympic Winter Games and 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, visit www.hockeycanada.ca, or follow along through social media at www.facebook.com/hockeycanada and www.twitter.com/hockeycanada, www.twitter.com/hc_men, www.twitter.com/hc_women and www.twitter.com/hc_sledge.