Olympics-Canada sends mix of veterans, rookies in bid to reclaim women’s ice hockey gold
Canada players, including Marie-Philip Poulin, Rebecca Johnston and Natalie Spooner take the ice with the U.S. for the national anthems ahead of their international hockey exhibition game on a My Why Tour stop in Maryland Heights, Missouri, U.S., December 15, 2021. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Marie-Philip Poulin and Rebecca Johnston will compete in their fourth Olympics as Canada fights to recapture women’s ice hockey gold at the Beijing Games, with 10 rookies also named to the roster on Tuesday.
Canada has medalled in every Olympics since women’s hockey was introduced to the programme in 1998, claiming four straight golds from 2002.
Yet they had to settle for silver four years ago at the Pyeongchang Games after losing in a shootout to the United States.
“You wear that logo with so much pride and it’s an honour. It’s tough to be honest to put it into words, but that emotion when you walk into the opening ceremony… It’s unbelievable,” Poulin, who is serving as team captain, told reporters on Tuesday.
The team features 13 returning players from the Pyeongchang Games roster and is currently stationed inside a “bubble” environment in Calgary, where players will remain in order to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic until departing for Beijing on Jan. 26.
Head coach Troy Ryan said the added safety measures had not dented the team’s resolve to win.
“When our team is kind of firing on all cylinders, I think it’s a team that just plays confident,” said Ryan.
“The best thing about this group right now is we’re confident with the work that we’ve done to date but we’re also eager with the work that’s still left to be done to make us successful in Beijing.”
The team picked up its 11th World Championship title in August.
The women’s Olympic ice hockey competition will run from Feb. 3 to Feb. 17 in Beijing.