Canada to face U.S. rivals in tournament opener

canada national womes hockey team

CALGARY, Alta. – Canada’s National Women’s Team will open up its 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship with a game against its U.S. rivals during prime time when the top-eight women’s hockey teams from around the world gather in Kamloops, March 28 to April 4, 2016.

Hockey Canada and the IIHF released the tournament schedule at a news conference Wednesday at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops – the very facility that will host Team Canada’s tournament-opener on March 28.

“The release of the official schedule reinforces just how close we are to welcoming the world’s best in women’s hockey right here in Kamloops,” said Dean McIntosh, senior director of events and properties, Hockey Canada. “Our two host arenas are decked out in this year’s world championship logo, the host committee is finalizing its team of volunteers, and local sponsors are coming on board – the excitement in Kamloops is growing, and with the full schedule in-hand, it is now spreading across the country and internationally as hockey players and fans get ready to come to Kamloops for thrilling hockey.”

Eight teams will compete in the annual event, with Canada, Finland, Russia, and U.S.A. forming Group A, and the Czech Republic, Japan, Sweden, and Switzerland making up Group B. Canada is also set to face Russia on March 29, and Finland on March 31 in preliminary round play. The semifinals are set for April 3, and both the bronze- and gold-medal games will be hosted on April 4 at the Sandman Centre.

Since 1990, Canada’s National Women’s Team has won 10 gold medals at the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship – the last being an overtime win against the U.S. in 2012. Full-tournament ticket packages are available for purchase online.

BC Hockey bringing female championships to Kamloops

As part of Wednesday’s media availability, BC Hockey chief executive officer Barry Petrachenko announced that Kamloops has been awarded the female Peewee (11-12 year-olds), Bantam (13-14 year-olds), and Midget (15-17 year-olds) championships, March 27-30, 2016.

“Hosting international competitions such as the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship allows us to make a positive impression on the next generation of young players,” said Petrachenko. “We are extremely pleased that the City of Kamloops has provided us the opportunity to inspire B.C.’s young female players by bringing the BC Hockey Championships to the city while their hockey heroes are here to compete for world championship gold.”

As many as 24 teams will make their way to Kamloops to compete in their respective division’s championship.