Red Deer will be the stage for the final game of a nine-game rivalry series between the Canadian Women's Olympic hockey team and Team U.S. on Jan. 6. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh)

Canadian Women’s Olympic hockey team to play in Red Deer on Jan. 6

Game is part of a nine-game rivalry series between the two countries

Red Deer is set to host the Canadian Women’s Olympic hockey team next year as they prepare for the Beijing Winter Olympics.

In an announcement Thursday, Hockey Canada unveiled more details about its centralization schedule over the next six months.

In addition to a number of games against Finland, Junior A clubs, and the Professional Women’s Hockey Association All-Stars, Canada will also square off against the United States in a nine-game rivalry series.

That series with start in the U.S. in October, and finish in Red Deer with the ninth game to be played at the Peavey Mart Centrium on Jan. 6.

“We are incredibly fortunate to join the United States, Finland and teams from the AJHL and BCHL to assist us in our preparations for Beijing,” said Gina Kingsbury, director of women’s hockey operations with Hockey Canada.

“This four-year Olympic cycle has impacted our schedule and training and limited our time together as a team. We believe we have put together a plan that will challenge us physically and give us a level of competition that pushes our team to be at our best.

“This is an opportunity to evaluate ourselves as we face high-calibre teams, and we are grateful to all the groups who are part of our journey.”

The Rivalry Series will be the first best-on-best competition for Canada’s National Women’s Team since it defeated the United States 3-2 in overtime in the gold medal game at the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship on Aug. 31.

Team Canada’s Olympic preparation also includes three games in Finland from Nov. 11-14 and a pair of games against the PWHPA all-stars in December.

It also features four games against Junior A clubs from the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), in addition to the two games against the Trail Smoke Eaters and Cranbrook Bucks of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL).

Canada lost 8-0 to the Drumheller Dragons in Drumheller on Monday and will play the Olds Grizzlys in Olds on Oct. 29, with puck drop set for 7 p.m.

They’ll round out their Alberta trip with a game against the Camrose Kodiaks in Camrose on Nov. 3, before travelling to Finland.