Olympics-Canada sends mix of veterans, rookies in bid to reclaim women’s ice hockey gold

FILE PHOTO: 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

January 11, 2022

(Reuters) – 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.

“It never gets old being able to represent your country at the highest level,” said Poulin, who is serving as team captain. “I am extremely excited to wear the maple leaf with this group and to play for something so much bigger than ourselves.”

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 until departing for Beijing on Jan. 26, in order to remain safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our women’s program has faced a number of challenges over this four-year Olympic cycle, and we have tackled the adversity without it distracting us from our goal of competing at the Olympics,” said Gina Kingsbury, the director of women’s national teams with Hockey Canada.

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.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Toby Davis)

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