CALGARY — Canada’s women’s hockey team is bent on replicating the success of its soccer counterparts on the world stage.
The hockey players were up early at their Calgary hotel and glued to the dining room television when Canadian women beat Sweden in penalty shots to claim Olympic soccer gold in Tokyo earlier this month.
“We wanted to get on the ice right after that game. We were all fired up,” Canadian hockey captain Marie-Philip Poulin told The Canadian Press.
“For us watching the soccer game, it was amazing. Those girls really stood together. It’s a different sport, but at the same time, we do all the same sacrifices, we do all that hard work for that moment.
“I think they really inspired us.”
Just two weeks after the soccer triumph in Tokyo, Canada opens the women’s world hockey championship Friday against Finland in Calgary.
Canadian teams have won gold in 10 world championships, but not since 2012 in Burlington, Vt.
Canada lost to host Finland in a semifinal in Espoo, and didn’t reach the final for the first time, in the last world championship held in 2019.
The Canadians finished third. The United States edged Finland in a shootout to claim a fifth straight world title.
Canada downed the Finns 4-1 in Wednesday’s pre-tournament game and faces them again in the tournament opener.
The host country then meets Russia on Sunday, Switzerland on Tuesday and concludes the preliminary round Thursday in Pool A against the Americans.
The Czech Republic, Japan, Germany and promoted Hungary and Denmark are in Pool B.
The quarterfinals are Aug. 28 followed by the Aug. 30 semifinals and the medal games Aug. 31.
No tickets were sold for the preliminary round at WinSport’s Markin MacPhail Centre, but Hockey Canada hasn’t ruled out spectators for playoffs.
Both the 2020 and 2021 women’s championship in Nova Scotia were cancelled because of COVID-19.
The relocation and rescheduling of the 2021 tournament to Calgary in late summer is an unusual start in Canada’s preparation for February’s Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Twenty-nine women arrived in Calgary in late July for “centralization”.
Hockey Canada’s standard practice six to seven months out from a Winter Games is to centralize the women together in Calgary for training and games in order to choose top performers for the Olympic roster.
A world championship off the hop had head coach Troy Ryan quickly choosing his 25-player roster.
“Having the world championship at the front end of your centralization, there’s no template for that definitely,” he said. “Any time you’re selecting a national-team roster, it’s also about a body of work.
“Difficult decisions, but ones we were comfortable making at this point.”
Poulin and assistant captains Brianne Jenner, Blayre Turnbull and Jocelyne Larocque lead a Canadian side intent on reclaiming women’s hockey supremacy over the next seven months.
Poulin played just a few shifts in Espoo because of a knee injury that would have still hampered her in 2020 had that world championship gone ahead.
“While it really sucked we couldn’t play that world championship, time heals a lot,” said the 30-year-old from Beauceville, Que.
“It really helped me be able to take care of myself physically and mentally.”
A third of Canada’s roster makes its world championship debut in Calgary — goaltender Kristen Campbell, defenders Ashton Bell, Claire Thompson, Ella Shelton and forwards Victoria Bach, Emma Maltais and Kristin O’Neill.
That’s significant turnover on what’s been traditionally a veteran squad.
Forward Jessie Eldridge of Barrie, Ont., was added to the centralized roster in July. Veteran defender Meaghan Mikkelson is sidelined with an undisclosed injury.
Mikkelson, Eldridge, defender Micah Zandee-Hart and forward Julia Gosling were left off the world championship roster.
“We’re very optimistic they’ll compete during centralization and ultimately, hopefully find themselves on roster spots for the Olympics,” Ryan said.
Canada has played just seven international games in the more than two years since the last world championship, going 4-3 against the U.S. in 2019-20.
Pandemic restrictions not only eliminated international and domestic games for months, but even group skates where the Canadian players lived were not allowed at times.
The players invested the extra time into physical fitness Both players and management say the women posted the highest scores of their lives in fitness testing upon arrival in Calgary.
“Everyone did the hard work on their own and when it came time to come together, we’re ready to go,” Poulin said.
Sick Jon Rahm withdraws from Fortinet Championship's Wednesday pro-am – Golf Channel
World No. 1 Jon Rahm withdrew from the Fortinet Championship’s Wednesday pro-am because of a stomach illness.
Rahm was supposed to tee off at 8:40 a.m. PST and moved his press conference to 2 p.m. But he then canceled his pre-tournament presser altogether and the Tour announced he would not appear at Silverado Resort and Spa’s North Course at all on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old Spaniard is scheduled to tee off at 7:44 a.m. local time in Round 1.
After competing this week in Napa Valley at the PGA Tour’s season opener, Rahm is expected to travel to Whistling Straights, Wisconsin, for next week’s Ryder Cup.
Oilers Rookie Notebook: Dylan Holloway’s wrist injury a tough blow – Sportsnet.ca
EDMONTON — The first blow came even before Edmonton Oilers rookie camp had opened, with prized prospect Dylan Holloway going under the knife Tuesday to repair a broken scaphoid bone in his left wrist.
What made it even more disappointing was, after busting the bone in the NCAA playoffs with the University of Wisconsin, Holloway had surgery after Wisconsin’s season ended in late March in Chicago that was designed to have him ready to play hockey this fall. But that surgery failed.
Holloway, Edmonton’s first-round pick in 2020 (14th overall) lunched with Holland during a Calgary world junior camp in August, and the Oilers GM didn’t like what he heard.
“He was telling me that he couldn’t shoot, couldn’t take draws. He was getting frustrated,” Holland said. “We were five to six months down the road … and there was very little healing going on. Probably about 30 per cent. The decision was made: nothing was really happening, and we’d need to start the process all over again.”
Holloway is only 19, but can play in the American Hockey League. He was likely destined for Bakersfield this year, which is definitely where he will be assigned when he heals up sometime around the new year.
No Room At The Inn
The Oilers roster is pretty much set with veterans, with precious few (if any) spots for a youngster to worm his way into the NHL.
But two left shot defencemen who may have the best shot — along with left winger Tyler Benson — are both in town and ready to begin their North American transition in earnest. Dmitri Samorukov and Philip Broberg are at the Rookie Camp prep’ing for main camp, where it isn’t a total reach that one might be able to stick around.
“They’re both going to be in North America,” said Holland, who had good news when doctors cleared Samorukov for full contact after a January shoulder injury suffered in Moscow. “He was playing very well in the KHL, but hasn’t played hockey since January. Two years of pro — one in Bakersfield, one in (the KHL) — and I’m also excited to see where Broberg is at, like everybody else.
“Do they force their way onto the Edmonton Oilers roster? Or do they have to go down to the American League and continue their development into NHL defencemen? That’s what we’re trying to find out, but they are both here (in North America) to stay.”
Samorukov, 22, played a season in Bakersfield then went home to CSKA Moscow last year, the club where he was raised as a player. Broberg, 20, spent two developmental seasons in Sweden’s top league with Skelleftea, while limping through the 2021 World Junior here in Edmonton.
“I had a knee injury and a shoulder injury at the World Juniors. It was difficult,” said the defenceman, who played through the pain. “It is an honour to play for your country, especially at the World Juniors.”
Broberg said he was about “80 percent” when he returned to Skelleftea, and by season’s end, his minutes were down. Samorukov injured his shoulder in a January battle drill during practice and lost the back half of his KHL season, but says the last two seasons have him ready to challenge for a spot on an NHL blue line.
“When I first came to the AHL two years ago, it was really good for me. Learning how to be a pro player,” he said. “Then, the season in the KHL, I established myself as a pro player. Now, we’re trying to knock in the door. To do our best.”
Remember, Samorukov first came over as a 17-year-old to play three junior seasons for the Guelph Storm. He had 45 points in 59 games in his 19-year-old season and then nicely quarterbacked the Russian powerplay at the World Juniors in Vancouver-Victoria. But the 197-pounmder has settled on a less offensive game as a pro.
“Of course when you come from junior you have a lot of points. You think you might be something special,” he smiled. “Then you realize you have some guys who can really get points. (You learn) what kind of game you have to play. I know who I am right now.”
Samorukov was part of the ask by Arizona when they were peddling goalie Darcy Kuemper, a package considered too rich by Holland. Now, we’ll begin to get a closer look at the 2017 third-rounder, who moves a nice puck and stands six-foot-three.
“This rookie camp offers him a good chance to get up and running,” said Bakersfield head coach Jay Woodcroft, “so he’s feeling confident heading into main camp next week.”
Is this finally the year that Tyler Benson cracks the Oilers roster? It had better be — he is waiver eligible now, at age 23 years of age with four pro seasons under his belt.
With left wingers Zach Hyman, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Warren Foegele in town, it’s pretty clear that Benson will have to make the club as a fourth-line left-winger and try to move up from there. He’s in against Devin Shore and Brendan Perlini for that 4-LW spot, as a former candidate for exceptional status as a junior now finds himself in a utility role if he wants to get his NHL career off the ground.
“We came up with a plan to develop different areas of his game (in Bakersfield last season),” Woodcroft said. “For example, his board work. Introducing him to the penalty kill. Something he had minimal experience on, but something we felt provided a line of sight or a pathway to … make our parent club.
“Tyler was a point-per-game player last year and played on what I felt was the most dominant line in the Pacific Division of the AHL. He made plays,” his coach said. “The opportunity before him is obvious. He feels like he’s in top shape, mentally ready to go, and he’s excited about that opportunity.”
Edmonton’s recent first-round pick (22nd overall) Xavier Bourgault hit the gym hard this summer, putting on 10 lbs. He comes to camp at six feet tall and 172 pounds, so he has a ways to go.
Blue Jays optimistic Jose Berrios won’t miss next start after abdominal scare – Sportsnet.ca
After the Blue Jays’ 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, the team reported that Berrios left the game due to abdominal tightness on his left side and received post-game treatment.
Berrios threw seven innings of one run ball Tuesday, striking out six and allowing only four hits.
“He’s doing fine,” Montoyo said. “He’s doing a lot better than we thought, which is great news. Actually, you might get to see him playing catch in a little bit to see how he’s doing. He did all the tests. Everything looks good.”
The right-handed pitcher who the Blue Jays acquired at the trade deadline is 11-8 on the season, with a 3.43 ERA in 173.1 innings pitched.
The Blue Jays wrap up their series with the Rays on Wednesday at 3:07 p.m. ET/ 12:07 p.m. PT on Sportsnet and SN Now.
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