TORONTO, ON – When the first Canadian athletes open competition at the Lake Placid 2023 FISU Winter University Games, it will be the women’s hockey team on the ice, battling against Slovakia on Jan. 11.
Team Canada, who finished with the silver medal at Krasnoyarsk 2019, enter Lake Placid’s competition as one of the favourites, with the defending gold medal-winning Russian squad banned from the Games due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Consisting of all U SPORTS players, the women’s hockey team is one of the few sports at the winter games to draw solely on the top level of Canadian university sport rather than dipping into CGEP or the NCAA.
Team Canada, which consists of 22 players, will compete in a group with Slovakia, Czechia, Japan, Great Britain and the United States while looking to advance to the semifinals and gold medal game.
Since 2009’s Winter University Games in Harbin, China, Canada hasn’t missed the podium in women’s hockey, winning gold in 2009, 2011 and 2013 before beginning their current run of silver medal performances in 2015, 2017, and 2019.
Leading the Canadian team to Lake Placid will be University of Ottawa Gee-Gees assistant coach Greg Bowles, who was the assistant coach of Team Canada in 2019.
Legendary women’s hockey coach Daniele Sauvageau (Montreal Carabins) serves as General Manager, while University of Guelph’s Katie Mora joins the bench as Assistant Coach and Team Lead.
“As Canadians, we all understand that anytime you get to don the maple leaf and represent this country on the international stage, it is a thrill, a privilege and an honour,” Bowles said in the announcement. “That said, this group can’t wait to get started and add their part to the legacy that is Canadian hockey.”
Kelly Paton (Laurier Golden Hawks) and Sarah Hilworth (UNB Reds) have also been appointed assistant coaches.
After scouting players through the first portion of the U SPORTS hockey season, the coaching staff Sauvegeau landed on the student-athletes that they hope will guide Canada to the golden promised land in Lake Placid.
A quick breakdown
With four years past since the Krasnoyarsk 2019 Games, only one player on the roster returns with FISU experience, that being Montreal’s Annabel Faubert. Meanwhile, there are seven returning players from the team nominated for the cancelled Lucerne 2021 Games last year, including:
Maria Dominico (Nipissing Lakers), Rosalie Bégin-Cyr (Concordia Stingers), Aureli Dubuc (uOttawa Gee-Gees), Kelly-Ann Nadeau (Montreal Carabins), Audrey-Anne Veillette (Montreal Carabins), Madison Willan (Alberta Pandas), and Kendra Woodland (UNB Reds).
Each of the four conferences is represented throughout the roster, with four from Canada West, four from the OUA, five from the AUS and eight from RSEQ. As for the provincial athlete representation, Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and BC are all represented.
Outside of the U SPORTS All-Stars, Team Canada’s offensive unit consists of all five of the top five scorers in Canada while also turning to Concordia’s Emmy Fecteau, who not only brings the winning pedigree from last season’s U SPORTS champions but is the best faceoff taker in the country.
Fecteau has previously represented Team Canada in Lake Placid, playing for the National Women’s Development Team in 2019 while in her rookie season with the Stingers. Montreal’s Audrey-Anne Veillliet also joined that Team Canada camp.
On the backend, only two players have played together in the past in the Montreal Carabins duo of Annabelle Faubert and Kelly-Ann Nadeau. Still, there is a lot of skill on the blueline and through the Canadian roster.
Meanwhile, in goal, AUS save percentage leader Kendra Woodland (.955 save percentage) of the UNB Reds looks poised to hold down the Canadian crease.
It won’t be the first time Woodland represents Canada either, having worn the red and white this past summer with the Canadian National Women’s Team Training Camp and playing for Canada at the 2018 IIHF Women’s U18 Championships, where she helped Canada to bronze.
Without the Russians in the tournament, Canada has a clear look at the gold medal in women’s hockey as they look to reach the podium’s pinnacle for the first time since 2013 in Trentino, Italy.
- Tatum Amy, MRU
- Rosalie Bégin-Cyr, Concordia
- Maggy Burbidge, StFX
- Shae Demale, SMU
- Maria Dominico, Nipissing
- Emmy Fecteau, Concordia
- Leah Herrfort, Waterloo
- Lea MacLeod, StFX
- Hannah Tait, Guelph
- Audrey-Anne Veillette, Montreal
- Scout Watkins Southward, Queen’s
- Madison Willan, Alberta
- Carley Bossé-Olivier, Waterloo
- Annabel Faubert, Montreal
- Kelly-Ann Nadeau, Montreal
- Jenna MacLean, UNB
- Elizabeth Mura, McGill
- Isabella Pozzi, Saskatchewan
- Marie-Camille Théorê, Bishop’s
- Kendra Woodland, UNB
- Camryn Drever, Saskatchewan
- Aurelie Dubuc, Ottawa
TEAM CANADA SCHEDULE (all times EST)
Jan. 11 (8:00 pm): Canada vs. Slovakia
Jan. 14 (4:30 pm): Canada vs. Czechia
Jan. 15 (4:30 pm): Canada vs. Japan
Jan. 17 (4:30 pm): Canada vs. Great Britain
Jan. 18 (8:00 pm): Canada vs. USA
Jan. 20: Semi-finals
Jan. 21: Finals