Hockey Canada names players to try out for Olympic women’s team

CALGARY — The oldest player on the Canadian women’s hockey team is ready for the grind of chasing her fourth Olympic gold medal. Jayna Hefford was one of 27 players invited Thursday by Hockey Canada to come to Calgary on Aug. 6 and train full time for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

CALGARY — The oldest player on the Canadian women’s hockey team is ready for the grind of chasing her fourth Olympic gold medal.

Jayna Hefford was one of 27 players invited Thursday by Hockey Canada to come to Calgary on Aug. 6 and train full time for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

It will be the fifth time the 35-year-old forward from Kingston, Ont., moves west to become an Olympian.

She’s one of the 24 out-of-province players who will leave behind school, jobs, club teams, family and friends for seven months to pursue a spot on Canada’s Olympic women’s hockey team.

“It’s always tough to move out there and leave behind your normal life, but at the same time, it’s one of the most exciting years and it really is a short time when you get there,” Hefford says.

“It’s that seven months and it’s intense. You get to do so many cool things.”

Head coach Dan Church of Toronto and assistant coach Lisa Haley of Westville, N.S., will relocate to Calgary. Assistant coach Danielle Goyette of St. Nazaire, Que., coaches the University of Calgary women’s team.

The roster includes 22 players who took the silver medal at the world championships in Ottawa earlier this month, plus another five. Thirteen played for the Canadian team that won Olympic gold in Vancouver in 2010.

Edmonton’s Shannon Szabados, Charline Labonte of Boisbriand, Que., and Genevieve Lacasse of Kingston, Ont., are the three goalies.

The defenders invited are Jocelyne Larocque of Ste. Anne, Man., Brigette Lacquette of Waterhen, Man., Lauriane Rougeau of Beaconsfield, Que., Laura Fortino of Hamilton, Courtney Birchard of Mississauga, Ont., Meaghan Mikkelson of St. Alberta, Alta., Montreal’s Catherine Ward, Tessa Bonhomme of Sudbury, Ont., and Tara Watchorn of Newcastle, Ont.

Hefford, Hayley Wickenheiser of Shaunavon, Sask., and Montreal’s Caroline Ouellette are the most veterans forwards among the 15 invited.

Marie-Philip Poulin of Beauceville, Que., scored both of Canada’s goals in a 2-0 win over the U.S. in the 2010 final. Meghan Agosta-Marciano of Ruthven, Ont., was Canada’s leading scorer and tournament MVP in Vancouver.

Rebecca Johnston of Sudbury, Ont., Jennifer Wakefield of Pickering, Ont., Gillian Apps of Unionville, Ont., Melodie Daoust of Valleyfield, Que., Bailey Bram of Ste. Anne, Brianne Jenner of Oakville, Ont., Winnipeg’s Jenelle Kohanchuk, Toronto’s Natalie Spooner, Haley Irwin of Thunder Bay, Ont., and Vicki Bendus of Wasaga Beach, Ont., round out the forwards.

Church says he’ll probably name his Olympic team in late December.

“My job is to have a vision of where we want to be come Olympic time,” Church said. “A good coach also has to be flexible enough to be able to coach to the strengths of the players and be able to adapt to that.

“I think we need to have certain elements and add what the players bring. It’s all going to fit into the type of team we have come next February which I hope is the best Canadian team we’ve ever been able to ice.”

He intended to invite 28 players, but Sarah Vaillancourt suddenly retired last week. Church decided not to add another forward to replace her.

Hefford and Wickenheiser, 34, have played for Canada in every Winter Olympics since women’s hockey made its debut in 1998. Canada won gold in 2002, 2006 and 2010 after taking silver in 1998.

The women battling for jobs on the 2014 team will train and skate together every day. They’ll play about 30 games against midget triple-A boys’ teams in Alberta.

Canada will also play half a dozen exhibition games against the U.S. women. A Dec. 20 date in Grand Forks, N.D., has already been announced. Canada and the U.S. will also participate in the Four Nations Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y., in November.

The invited players will be under the constant scrutiny of Church, as he tries to find the players who can win another gold medal.

“Consistency is a big part of it, being able to fulfil a role within the team and being able to adapt to different roles, that consistent effort and execution,” he listed as his criteria. “Be reliable in tough situations when it matter most.”

Hefford knows from previous experience how stressful and exhausting the months are heading into the Games, yet she loves it.

The winter the Canadian women are centralized in Calgary is the closest they come in their hockey careers to living the life of an NHL player.

“It’s our chance to be a professional athlete,” she says. “We have all the resources we need right there every single day.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

If you're heading out to the West Country have a plan in case things go wrong, says Clearwater Regional Fire Rescue Services fire chief Steve Debienne.
(Photo from CRFRS Facebook)
West Country visitors should have an emergency plan: regional fire chief

Cellphones can’t be relied on in many back country areas

Rode
Sarcevic leads an impressive list of additions to RDC Kings soccer

In 2019 the RDC Kings soccer program took a major step forward… Continue reading

The Red Deer PCN Women's Fun Run will take on a different look this weekend with rising COVID-19 numbers.
Women’s Fun Run goes ahead this weekend in Red Deer

With new public health measures in place because of rising COVID-19 case… Continue reading

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw asked Albertans to limit travel throughout the province as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears 900 active COVID-19 cases

Province reports additional 2,211 COVID-19 cases

David Eggen, the NDP’s advanced education critic, said the UCP government has been focused on cutting funding to post-secondary institutions across Alberta. (Contributed photo)
NDP worry new status for Red Deer College doesn’t mean more funding

This week the province announced that RDC will become a polytechnic institute

Alberta Health Services locked the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mirror on Wednesday morning after owner Christopher Scott refused to comply with health orders. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)
UPDATED: AHS shuts down Whistle Stop Cafe for defying health orders

Justice minister promises to get tough with those ignoring public health orders

Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals pressed to ease access to EI parental leave to help unemployed moms

Liberals pressed to ease access to EI parental leave to help unemployed moms

Katie Telford, Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, appears as a witness via videoconference during a House of Commons finance committee in Ottawa, Thursday, July 30, 2020. The Canadian Press has learned that Katie Telford has written members of the defence committee inquiry into allegations of sexual misconduct against Canada's former top military commander, offering to testify at their meeting Friday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
PM’s chief of staff offers to testify on Vance sexual misconduct allegations

PM’s chief of staff offers to testify on Vance sexual misconduct allegations

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Family looking for answers: Woman with vaccine side-effects died of blood clot

Family looking for answers: Woman with vaccine side-effects died of blood clot

‘Uniquely reprehensible’: No parole for 35 years for Calgary man in triple murder

‘Uniquely reprehensible’: No parole for 35 years for Calgary man in triple murder

A sign is seen at a walk-in COVID-19 in Montreal on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
NACI chair says advice not meant to give AstraZeneca recipients vaccine remorse

NACI chair says advice not meant to give AstraZeneca recipients vaccine remorse

People in Peel region line up outside the University of Toronto Mississauga campus for the COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Mississauga, Ont., on Thursday, May 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tijana Martin
Promising pandemic signs in Ontario, Quebec as urgency shifts to N.S., Alberta

Promising pandemic signs in Ontario, Quebec as urgency shifts to N.S., Alberta

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves upon departure from Boryspil International airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, May 6, 2021. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met with top Ukrainian officials in Kyiv and reaffirmed Washington's support for the country in the wake of heightened tensions with Russia. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, Pool)
US says fate of nuclear pact up to Iran as talks resume

US says fate of nuclear pact up to Iran as talks resume

People embrace after a school shooting at Rigby Middle School in Rigby, Idaho on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Authorities say a shooting at the eastern Idaho middle school has injured two students and a custodian, and a male student has been taken into custody. (John Roark /The Idaho Post-Register via AP)
Sheriff: Girl shoots 3 at Idaho school; teacher disarms her

Sheriff: Girl shoots 3 at Idaho school; teacher disarms her

Most Read