After capturing last year’s Four Nations title as well as winning gold in Sochi at the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Canadian National Women’s Team will kick off the newest Olympic cycle at the 2014 Four Nations Cup. Kamloops, British Columbia, will play host to the tournament. 10 players will be making their senior team debuts, including two goaltenders, two defensemen, and six forwards. In all, 23 players will be suiting up for Team Canada. With the tournament slated to begin on Nov. 4, here are some quick thoughts highlighting the Canadian roster.
#30 – Emerance Maschmeyer (Bruderheim, Alberta) – Harvard University (ECAC)
#31 – Geneviève Lacasse (Kingston, Ontario) – Boston Blades (CWHL)
#33 – Erica Howe (Orleans, Ontario) – Brampton Thunder (CWHL)
- Geneviève Lacasse is the lone returning netminder from the 2014 Olympic squad, though she wasn’t the team’s go-to in net. She’ll likely have the inside track on the starting job this time around, however.
- Emerance Maschmeyer and Erica Howe are going to make big pushes for that starting role in their senior team debuts. They’re both proven at the collegiate level; Howe won a national championship with Clarkson as a senior last season after a dominant four years and Maschmeyer immediately stepped in as the Crimson’s starter as a freshman two years ago. They’ll now get the chance to prove their worth at the international level for the first time.
#3 – Jocelyne Larocque (Ste. Anne, Manitoba) – Brampton Thunder (CWHL)
#5 – Lauriane Rougeau (Beaconsfield, Quebec) – Montreal Stars (CWHL)
#8 – Laura Fortino (Hamilton, Ontario) – Brampton Thunder (CWHL)
#14 – Courtney Birchard (Mississauga, Ontario – Brampton Thunder (CWHL)
#27 – Tara Watchorn (Newcastle, Ontario) – Boston Blades (CWHL)
#37 – Erin Ambrose (Keswick, Ontario) – Clarkson University (ECAC)
#38 – Halli Krzyzaniak (Neepawa, Manitoba) – University of North Dakota (WCHA)
- Jocelyne Larocque, Lauriane Rougeau, and Laura Fortino are undoubtedly the leaders of this defensive corps. They are Canada’s most experienced defensemen and all three played key roles on the 2014 Olympic gold medal-winning squad.
- With Catherine Ward sitting this one out, one of those three will need to step up as the team’s #1 defenseman. Larocque and Rougeau are both efficient players defensively, but Fortino brings the most upside when it comes to moving the puck, which is one asset that had really separated Ward.
- Erin Ambrose has so far scored 22 goals and 92 points in 80 games with the Golden Knights in her NCAA career, and she’ll get her first chance to show some of that skill with the national team. She’ll be looking for some improvements from her stint with the Development Team this summer, when she was held off the board in a three-game series against the U.S. Under-22 Team. Her offensive abilities are there, but she’ll need to raise her all-around game at this level.
- Halli Krzyzaniak will also be making her debut with the senior team. As the youngest player on the blue line, she’s also one of the most intriguing. She hasn’t produced like Ambrose, but her game is much more well-rounded, and she’s already an all-situations player for North Dakota as only a sophomore. It’ll be interesting to see if she gets the chance to show that with Team Canada.
#6 – Rebecca Johnston (Sudbury, Ontario) – Calgary Inferno (CWHL)
#7 – Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, Ontario) – Brampton Thunder (CWHL)
#9 – Jennifer Wakefield (Pickering, Ontario) – Hockey Canada
#11 – Jillian Saulnier (Halifax, Nova Scotia) – Cornell University (ECAC)
#17 – Bailey Bram (Ste. Anne, Manitoba) – Calgary Inferno (CWHL)
#20 – Jenelle Kohanchuk (Winnipeg, Manitoba) – Toronto Furies (CWHL)
#21 – Haley Irwin (Thunder Bay, Ontario) – Calgary Inferno (CWHL)
#24- Natalie Spooner (Scarborough, Ontario) – Toronto Furies (CWHL)
#26 – Jessica Campbell (Melville, Saskatchewan) – Calgary Inferno (CWHL)
#29 – Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Quebec) – Boston University (WHEA)
#39 – Emily Clark (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) – University of Wisconsin (WCHA)
#40 – Blayre Turnbull (Stellarton, Nova Scotia) – University of Wisconsin (WCHA)
#41 – Kelly Terry (Whitby, Ontario) – Toronto Furies (CWHL)
- With veterans like Hayley Wickenheiser, Caroline Ouellette, and Meghan Agosta not competing, much of the workload up front will be shouldered by Rebecca Johnston, Natalie Spooner, Haley Irwin, and Marie-Philip Poulin. All four have played a prominent role in the offense for some time now, so it shouldn’t be too much of an adjustment; how the lower lines shake out with so many new players will be much more interesting.
- 2014 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner Jamie Lee Rattray will suit up for Canada’s senior team for the first time. As a hard-nosed quintessential power forward whose offensive game has developed nicely, she should be a big factor right away for Canada.
- Bailey Bram and Jenelle Kohanchuk return to the team after centralizing with the Canadians last year; both were two of the final cuts made to the 2014 Olympic roster. They have in the past filled in spots in the bottom-six, and they’re capable players there, but with more open spots up front and experience on their side, they could potentially factor in more prominently this tournament.
- Jessica Campbell and Kelly Terry are two very intriguing additions; both developed into highly-productive players throughout their four years in college, and Terry in particular finished with some stellar numbers at Minnesota. But both also bring a ton of speed, which is what makes them so effective. That’s a dynamic that we haven’t really seen lately from Team Canada, and it should help to make the offense even more dangerous.
- Emily Clark will make her senior team debut as the youngest player on the Four Nations squad at just 18 years old. Now a freshman at Wisconsin, she’s been a big factor in the Badgers’ offense already, scoring four goals and nine points in eight games this season. As a more offensive-minded player who’s still a bit raw in other areas, it’ll be interesting to see if she gets ice time in that sort of role for Canada, despite her young age.
- Clark’s teammate and captain with Wisconsin, Blayre Turnbull, is another one of the team’s 10 newcomers. Now a senior with the Badgers, she has steadily improved throughout her four years and broke out last season as a point-per-game player. She’s hard on the puck and brings a physical element that’s pretty typical of the Canadians.