Forty of the country’s top women’s under-18 players will head to Southern Ontario following Christmas as St. Catharines, Ont., will host Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team selection camp, Dec. 26-31.
The selection camp will be held at Ridley College and will feature a trio of intrasquad games on Dec. 28, 29 and 30 before the final roster is named for the 2022 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship, Jan. 8-15 in Linköping and Mjölby, Sweden.
The roster – 24 forwards, 12 defence and four goaltenders – will be split into two teams for on-ice skills sessions, practices and intrasquad games. With the cancellation of the 2021 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship, this will be the first time in almost two years Canada’s best women’s U18 players will be able to test their skills and compete in this short-term international competition.
“This is an exciting time for this group of dedicated athletes, who have waited nearly two years for a chance to compete on the international stage,” said Gina Kingsbury (Rouyn-Noranda, Que.), director of hockey operations with Hockey Canada. “We were able to gather together in the summer to train, compete and play some games in a competitive setting. With the world championship right around the corner, our athletes and coaching staff are eager for this opportunity to get back on the ice and put our off-ice work into practice, with a goal of representing Canada and competing for a gold medal.”
Canada is in Group A with Finland, Russia and the United States. Group B is comprised of the Czech Republic, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. Canada will open the 2022 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship against Russia on Jan. 8. Canada will also face Finland on Jan. 9 before its preliminary-round finale against the United States on Jan. 11.
Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team will look to earn its first gold medal at the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship since 2019; it has won five gold medals (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2019), seven silver medals (2008, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2020) and one bronze (2018).
COACHING STAFF ANNOUNCEMENT
In July, Hockey Canada named its coaching staff tasked to lead Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team for the 2021-22 season. On Monday, Hockey Canada officially named Vicky Sunohara (Scarborough, Ont./University of Toronto, OUA) as an assistant coach, joining head coach Howie Draper (Edmonton, Alta./University of Alberta, CWUAA), assistant coach Tara Wachtorn (Newcastle, Ont./Stonehill College, NEWHA) and goaltending coach Gord Woodhall (Winnipeg, Man./Winnipeg, MFHL).
Sunohara replaces Alison Domenico (Ottawa, Ont./Providence College, HE), who was named to the coaching staff of Canada’s National Women’s Team for the 2021-22 season on Sept. 1.