I am in Toronto at the National Women’s hockey team selection camp for the 2011 world championship. This is the first time since 1996 that Hockey Canada holds such camp. We are 36 athletes battling for 21 spots on the roster that will represent Canada at the IIHF World Championship in Switzerland starting on April 16th.
In the past years, the World Championship team was names in February following the scouting in the NCAA, CIS, CWHL and WWHL leagues. I believe Hockey Canada’s initiative is great to develop players and it gives an opportunity to young players to showcase themselves after a full season where many of them have improved tremendously. It also keeps the veterans honest in their preparation for the most important tournament of the year. The team should be made of the players that are the best at this time of the year.
You can imagine that the intensity here is phenomenal. The 36 players are split in two teams and we will be playing one another in 3 games in 3 nights. The Camp started yesterday morning with a 75 minutes practice and it was great to play under the great enthusiasm of our coach Ryan Walter. Practice was very intense and we worked extremely hard. We could sense that everyone was a touch nervous.
In the afternoon, we are saddened to learn about the passing of Yale hockey player Mandi
Schwartz who at only 23 lost her battle with leukemia. Several of the players knew Mandi as she had taken part in a national team conditioning camp. All of us were moved by her incredible courage and the worldwide search she inspired to find a match for a bone marrow donor.
Mandi said those incredible words: Sometimes the situation is so much bigger than you that the only thing you can do is give up or give in to God. In the pre-game ceremony, we held a minute of silence in her honor. May she rests in peace.
I was very happy to find out that I was going to be playing with young sensation Marie-Philip Poulin and my longtime teammate with the Montreal Stars, Noémie Marin. Both of them are very close friends and we not only want to make one another better on the ice, we truly care about each other. I won 2 Clarkson Cups with Noémie and the inaugural one with Marie-Philip.
From the start of the game, the pace was fast and we could sense that players were carrying themselves as if everything was on the line. With a new coaching staff and several new players, it is without a doubt the case. Our team won the game 6-4 and we contributed to 3 of the 6 goals. I had an amazing time playing with those two amazing players. We were called the French connection by our teammates. Always something special between the frenchies! Another game tomorrow night at 7pm. Im sure white will want to get revenge!
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