Monday, 11 December 2017

The Next Wave

Hockey Canada is preparing itself for another tournament that will happen from January 3rd to 6th, 2018 in Füssen, Germany at the 2018 Nations Cup. Canada will join the national teams from Finland, Germany, Russia, Sweden, and Switzerland over the four-day tournament, but Canada, as it has done in the past, will send the next wave of potential female hockey stars as they look to continue their ascent towards becoming Canadian icons. Most of these players took part in the Canadian National Development Camp held over the summer, and these women should be on your radar for the coming years as they represent Canada's female hockey future!

"Following a very successful summer camp where we had the opportunity to play teams from U SPORTS and Japan, we continued to evaluate players as they embarked on regular season action with their club teams to come to this group of players who will represent Canada at the Nations Cup," said Gina Kingsbury, a two-time Olympic gold-medallist for Canada in women's hockey and the current director of national women's team programs for Hockey Canada. "These players are part of the up-and-coming Canadian talent that we are tracking as we look towards next year's IIHF Women's World Championship and beyond to the 2022 Games. To be able to provide opportunities for them to play high-level, international events like the Nations Cup is invaluable for them as players, and for us as a management group as we continue to build our pipeline to Canada's National Women’s Team."

Well said, Miss Kingsbury. There has been a concern leading into the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Games that Canada's core players were starting to hit the downward slope of their careers. There's always a question in terms of where the next wave of talent will come from, and we're seeing a good mix of players on this roster who could certainly push for roster spots come 2022 in Beijing.

With that being said, here is your Canadian roster for the 2018 Nations Cup!
  • F Lindsay Agnew - University of Minnesota.
  • F Victoria Bach - Boston University.
  • F Ashton Bell - University of Minnesota-Duluth.
  • F Loren Gabel - Clarkson University.
  • F Rebecca Leslie - Boston University.
  • F Emma Maltais - Ohio State University.
  • F Hannah Miller - St. Lawrence University.
  • F Kristin O'Neill - Cornell University.
  • F Éve-Audrey Picard - University of Vermont.
  • F Amy Potomak - Hockey Canada.
  • F Sophie Shirley - Calgary Inferno (CWHL).
  • F Brooke Stacey - University of Maine.
  • D Jamie Bourbonnais - Cornell University.
  • D Codie Cross - Northeastern University.
  • D Jess Healey - University of Minnesota-Duluth.
  • D Allie Munroe - Syracuse University.
  • D Josiane Pozzebon - Clarkson University.
  • D Ella Shelton - Clarkson University.
  • D Kaitlin Tse - Harvard University.
  • G Marlène Boissonnault - Cornell University.
  • G Tricia Deguire - McGill University (U SPORTS).
There are some absolute stars-to-be on this team, and you're going to find that at least four or five of these women will most likely be on the Canadian Olympic roster in 2022. Those five should include Amy Potomak, Victoria Bach, Sophie Shirley, Rebecca Leslie, and Loren Gabel. There may be more, but these five are absolutely tearing up their respective leagues in scoring right now, and that's something for which the Olympic team is always on the hunt.

Victoria Bach has 23 goals and 17 assists in just 19 games with Boston University this season. In the month of November alone, she tallied an incredible 21 points and 13 goals while finding chemistry with long-time friend and teammate Rebecca Leslie whom she has known since playing youth hockey in Ottawa.

Sophie Shirley is leading the CWHL's Calgary Inferno in scoring this season at the tender age of 18. Her four goals and five assists may not sound impressive to lead a first-place team, but she has yet to play an NCAA game in her life. To make the jump to the professional league from her time at a prep hockey academy and have the success she's having is something about which very few players - male or female - can boast.

As stated above, Rebecca Leslie has seen her stats explode as her and Victoria Bach rekindled some chemistry as linemates. Leslie currently has 15 goals and 21 assists in 19 games, and she has been the other half of the lethal duo that Boston University sends out to terrorize their opponents. In her fourth year at the school, Leslie has never scored less than 14 goals or 31 points, so Leslie has shown an incredible offensive talent during her time in the NCAA.

Loren Gabel is having another outstanding season at Clarkson where she's potted 15 goals and added 20 helpers in 21 goals. She has never scored less than 18 goals in any of her three seasons - extrapolating for this season, of course - and had career highs of 22 goals and 20 assists last year. She's a point-per-game player in the NCAA, and that's always something that will get a player on a Hockey Canada roster.

Amy Potomak, as you may recall, was playing with Hockey Canada's Olympic squad prior to being released from the evaluation. It was thought that Potomak would return to the University of Minnesota, but it's clear that Hockey Canada wants to keep her in the loop. Potomak is an outstanding scorer, and she'll be counted on as a leader for this Team Canada squad.

Canada is always a favorite at the Nations Cup, having won 11 gold medals in the following years: 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2016. Canada will warm-up for this tournament against the Austrian national team on December 30 before celebrating New Year's Eve in the Alps. Not a bad way to usher in the new year! We'll see if they can bring home the first gold medal of 2018 for Hockey Canada!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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