Olympians suiting up for Canada
Fresh off her first season with the University of Calgary Dinos, Hayley Wickenheiser will, once again, lead the Canadian team competing at the 2011 IIHF World Women’s Championship from April 16-25 in Zurich and Winterthur, Switzerland.
Wickenheiser, the Canada West women’s hockey player of the year and Dinos’ female player of the year nominee, will lead a team of 24 women who are aiming to improve from their silver medal at the 2009 world championship in Finland.
The 32-year-old from Shaunavon, Sask., is a four-time Olympian who has been with the team since the 1993-94 season.
TheteamincludesforwardMeghan Agosta, a 24-year-old forward from Ruthven, Ont., who was the most valuable player at the Vancouver Olympics. A two-time Olympian, Agosta was a finalist this season for the fourth time in her career for the Patty Kazmaier Award as the top player in NCAA women’s hockey. A star with Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania, Agosta became the first player to reach 300 points in her NCAA career.
In goal are 2010 Olympians ShannonSzabadosof EdmontonandCharline Labonte of Montreal, along with two-time Olympian Kim St-Pierre of Chateauguay, Que.
Szabados suited up for the men’s hockey team out of Grant MacEwan University of the ACAC this past season.
Defensively, Meghan Mikkelson of St. Albert, Catherine Ward of Montreal, and Tessa Bonhomme of Sudbury, Ont., are back from the 2010 Olympic squad.
In total, the team — which was announced Wednesday — features 16 players that won Olympic gold in Vancouver. Meanwhile, 18 players were with the team that won gold at the 4 Nations Cup in November in St. John’s, N.L.
Canada opens the championship on April 16 against Switzerland and will face Kazakhstan and Finland in the preliminary round.