CALGARY â€” Canada will field a veteran roster when it tries for an eighth gold medal at the upcoming women’s world hockey championship.
The 23-player roster features 17 players who helped Canada sweep a two-game exhibition series against the archrival United States in December, 16 who were on Canada’s runner-up team at last year’s world championships and 13 who helped defeat the U.S. in the gold-medal game at the Sochi Olympics.
One player missing from the roster is star forward Hayley Wickenheiser, who announced her retirement in January. Wickenheiser helped Canada win 13 world championship medals, including silver in 2016.
Marie-Philip Poulin, who served as Canada’s captain in December’s exhibition series and scored the overtime winner in the second game, headlines a forward corps that includes 2014 gold medallists Meghan Agosta, Haley Irwin, Brianne Jenner, Rebecca Johnston, Natalie Spooner and Jennifer Wakefield.
Defenceman Laura Fortino, Jocelyne Larocque, Meaghan Mikkelson and Lauriane Rougeau and goaltenders Shannon Szabados and Genevieve Lacasse are the other returning 2014 Olympians.
The roster includes four players participating in the world championship for the first time: defencemen Erin Ambrose and Renata Fast and forwards Sarah Potomak and Laura Stacey.
The world championship starts March 31 in Plymouth, Mich.
“This is a determined group of players that have been chosen to wear the red-and-white on the international stage,” said Canada head coach Laura Schuler in a statement. “As our evaluation process continues leading into the selection of our Olympic centralization roster later this year, we’re confident this group will make Canada proud in Plymouth and we’re looking forward to building on our successes from the 2016-17 season.”
Joining Schuler on Canada’s coaching staff is Caroline Ouellette, a four-time Olympic gold-medallist with Canada who has been named an assistant coach alongside Dwayne Gylywoychuk and Troy Ryan.
Forwards â€” Meghan Agosta, Ruthven, Ont.; Bailey Bram, St. Anne, Man.; Emily Clark, Saskatoon; Sarah Davis, Paradise, N.L.; Haley Irwin, Thunder Bay, Ont.; Brianne Jenner, Oakville, Ont.; Marie-Philip Poulin, Beauceville, Que.; Rebecca Johnston, Sudbury, Ont.; Natalie Spooner, Toronto; Blayre Turnbull, Stellarton, N.S.; Jennifer Wakefield, Pickering, Ont.
Defence â€” Erin Ambrose, Keswick, Ont.; Renata Fast, Burlington, Ont.; Laura Fortino, Hamilton; Halli Krzyzaniak, Neepawa, Man.; Jocelyne Larocque, St. Anne; Meaghan Mikkelson, St. Albert, Alta.; Lauriane Rougeau, Beaconsfield, Que.
Goal â€” Genevieve Lacasse, Kingston, Ont.; Emerance Maschmeyer, Bruderheim, Alta.; Shannon Szabados, Edmonton.
The Canadian Press