OTTAWA (CIS) – Canadian Interuniversity Sport announced Friday the coaching staff and the 21 CIS players who will represent Canada in women’s hockey at the 2011 Winter Universiade in Erzurum, Turkey.
The 25th Winter World University Games will run from January 27 to February 6, with the women’s hockey final set for Saturday, Feb. 5.
Canada heads into the event as defending champion following a 3-1 gold-medal victory over host China in Harbin in 2009, when the sport made its Universiade debut.
Long-time Concordia University head coach Les Lawton will lead the Canadian entry in Turkey, with York’s Stacey Colarossi and Carleton’s Mandi Duhamel assisting behind the bench.
Rounding out the support staff are therapist Marcel Charland of Toronto and Dr. Patti Galvin of Guelph.
In his 29th season at the helm at Concordia, Lawton has enjoyed tremendous success over the past three decades both in domestic and international competition. The winningest coach in Canadian university women’s hockey history with a 586-282-72 overall record entering the 2010-11 campaign, the Montreal native led the Stingers to the inaugural CIS national title in 1998 and to a repeat performance in 1999, and guided Canada to a 6-3 gold-medal win over the United States at the 1994 world championship in Lake Placid, N.Y.
“It’s always a tremendous honour to represent Canada on the international stage,” Lawton said. “The team did really well in 2009 and we’re excited about the opportunity to defend the Universiade title.”
Six players return from the 2009 championship squad including rearguards Andrea Boras of Alberta, Carly Hill of McGill and Kelsey Webster of York, as well as forwards Andrea Ironside of Wilfrid Laurier, Mariève Provost of Moncton and Courtney Unruh of York.
Webster and Ironside both played their fifth and final CIS season in 2009-10. However, student-athletes can compete at the Universiade up to one year after completing their university eligibility.
Provost was one of Canada’s most prolific scorers two years ago finishing the seven-game tournament with four goals and three assists for seven points. Unruh tallied five points (4-1-5) including the game-winning goal in the title match against China.
A native of Laval, Que., Provost leads CIS in scoring this season with 30 points (14-16-30) in 12 conference games. With 12 contests remaining in her fifth and final university campaign, she currently ranks third in CIS all-time scoring with 205 points (105-100-205) and is expected to shatter the CIS career records for goals (106) and points (213) when the AUS schedule resumes in January.
“I like our mix of returning players and newcomers. It’s critical at the international level to have experience on your side, to have leadership in order to bring the team together in challenging situations,” Lawton commented. “We think we have the best in CIS women’s hockey. That was our goal from day one.”
Defending the Canadian net will be a pair of fifth-year goaltenders, Brock’s Beth Clause and Laurier’s Liz Knox.
The defensive unit is completed by StFX teammates Jenna Downey and Suzanne Fenerty, Laurier’s Alicia Martin and Guelph’s Jacalyn Sollis.
Rounding out the group of forwards are McGill’s Ann-Sophie Bettez, Montreal’s Kim Deschênes, Saskatchewan’s Breanne George, Concordia’s Erin Lally, Dalhousie’s Jocelyn Leblanc, Manitoba’s Addie Miles, Western’s Ellie Seedhouse, Laurier’s Candice Styles and Guelph’s Jessica Zerafa.
In Erzurum, the women’s hockey tournament will once again be a six-team competition with Finland, Slovakia, Great Britain, the USA and host Turkey also vying for Universiade glory.
The Americans and Turks will make their first World University Games appearance in the sport, replacing 2009 silver medalist China and Japan at the tourney.
Canada is set to open the five-game round-robin competition against Finland on Jan. 27 and face the USA in its fourth match on Jan. 31. The top four teams at the end of the preliminary round advance to the semifinals.
In 2009, the Canadians went a perfect 5-0 in round-robin play with wins over Great Britain (11-0), Finland (5-0), Slovakia (6-3), China (7-1) and Japan (4-1). They went on to defeat Slovakia 10-1 in the semis before downing China 3-1 in the final.
“It’s great to see the USA join the tournament this time around,” said Lawton. “They could very well be our greatest opponent. Like Canada, they have a very deep pool of talent to select from so I expect them to send a very competitive team.”
“One of our biggest challenges is the fact we won’t get on the ice together before we get to Turkey. Hopefully we’ll gel quickly, develop more and more chemistry as the tournament progresses and peak at the right moment.”
Canada’s participation in the Universiade is managed by the CIS International Programs.
TEAM CANADA ROSTER
Position Name University Elig. Hometown
Clause Brock 5 Hamilton, Ont.
Goaltender Liz Knox Laurier 5 Stouffville, Ont.
Defence Andrea Boras Alberta 4 Calgary, Alta.
Defence Jenna Downey StFX 2 Stratford, Ont.
Defence Suzanne Fenerty StFX 4 Cole Harbour, N.S.
Defence Carly Hill McGill 5 Dorval, Que.
Defence Alicia Martin Laurier 4 Etobicoke, Ont.
Defence Jacalyn Sollis Guelph 4 West Vancouver, B.C.
Defence Kelsey Webster York - Duncan, B.C.
Forward Ann-Sophie Bettez McGill 4 Sept-Iles, Que.
Forward Kim Deschênes Montreal 2 Saint-Quentin, N.B.
Forward Breanne George Saskatchewan 3 Saskatoon, Sask.
Forward Erin Lally Concordia 2 Calgary, Alta.
Forward Jocelyn Leblanc Dalhousie 4 Moncton, N.B.
Forward Andrea Ironside Laurier - Collingwood, Ont.
Forward Addie Miles Manitoba 4 Winnipeg, Man.
Forward Mariève Provost Moncton 5 Laval, Que.
Forward Ellie Seedhouse Western 4 Whitby, Ont.
Forward Candice Styles Laurier 2 Orangeville, Ont.
Forward Courtney Unruh York 4 Fort St. John, B.C.
Forward Jessica Zerafa Guelph 5 Mississauga, Ont.
NOTE: Webster and Ironside played their fifth and final CIS season in 2009-10. Student-athletes can compete at the Universiade up to one year after completing their university eligibility.
Head coach: Les Lawton, Concordia
Assistant coach: Stacey Colarossi, York
Assistant coach: Mandi Duhamel, Carleton
Therapist: Marcel Charland, Toronto
Doctor: Patti Galvin, Guelph
TEAM CANADA TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE (all times local)
Thursday, Jan. 27, 16:00: Canada vs. Finland
Friday, Jan. 28, 19:00: Canada vs. Slovakia
Sunday, Jan. 30, 11:00: Canada vs. Great Britain
Monday, Jan. 31, 11:00: Canada vs. USA
Wednesday, Feb. 2, 20:00: Canada vs. Turkey
Friday, Feb. 4, 16:00: Semifinal #1 (3 vs. 2)
Friday, Feb. 4, 20:00: Semifinal #2 (4 vs. 1)
Saturday, Feb. 5, 9:30: Bronze
Saturday, Feb. 5, 13:00: Final