There have been two constants in Claire Thompson’s life: hockey and school,
one always coming to the forefront when the time is right.
In high school, hockey was the focus; school was secondary. But the summer
after graduation, that reality flipped. In August 2015, Thompson earned an
invite to Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team selection camp, but
ultimately wasn’t picked for a three-game series against the United
States. So she packed her bags, headed for Princeton University and put
her focus on school.
“Not that I lost hope, but I figured my style of play wasn’t what the
national team was looking for,” Thompson remembers of her reaction that
summer. “So I definitely just kind of focused my energy not into proving
them wrong…but trying to become a better player for my college team.”
At Princeton, Thompson flourished under Tigers head coach Cara Morey, a
Team Canada alumna who worked as a coach with Canada’s National Women’s
Program throughout the 2010s.
“She always did have something really special about the way she played,”
Morey says of her former captain. “It wasn’t like this was do-or-die for
Claire, she just wanted to become the best player and the best person she
“And while she worked on that, Hockey Canada noticed.”
Morey says Thompson is a gifted offensive defenceman who can see the ice
well, but needed to learn how and when to take risks.
“We would have an agreement…that if she came up with a high-risk move
through the middle [and gave up a turnover], she just had to get the puck
back before they scored,” Morey laughs.
“She always encouraged me to just play the game how I wanted to play it,”
Thompson says. “But also learning to balance trying to make a play or set
someone else up for success versus the safe play is something that I
definitely grew into across my four years [at Princeton].”
In four years as a Tiger, Thompson played in 129 games, recording 31 goals
and 56 assists. She was named Ivy League First All-Star Team and won the
Ivy League championship in her junior year, and helped the team qualify for
the NCAA tournament (which was cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic) in her
senior year. But as impressive as her hockey statistics were, Thompson’s
schooling was even moreso.
She was recognized annually for her academic success by the American Hockey
Coaches Association as an All-American Scholar. Majoring in ecology and
evolutionary biology with a focus on theoretical ecology, Thompson thought
she was heading for a career in research and academia. But an invitation to
Canada’s National Women’s Development Team in the summer of 2019 once again
changed her focus.
“It was honestly kind of shocking and a bit nerve-wracking,” explains
Thompson, who had moved to Washington, D.C., that summer to research her
senior thesis, and was not at her family’s home in Toronto where she would
typically train. “So for a bit I was thinking, oh my goodness this is
finally my chance to get back into it and I am not in the city I want to be
“But I just went out and played the way that I had played to get myself
there and well, I guess it worked out.”
Morey was also at the camp, assisting with the development squad, proud to
be watching her all-star blue-liner get another chance with Team Canada.
But having Morey there would prove to be helpful in more ways than one, as
she was able to give the coaching staff some insight into Thompson.
While players typically napped or were together during free time, Thompson
was often sitting on her own, studying.
“I was explaining, ‘Let Claire read her science, let her study,
because…studying calms her down and gets her ready,’” Morey says. “And she
had the best camp of her life and…by the end…they finally understood that
part of her pre-game sometimes is opening up an organic chemistry
Thompson would make the development team that summer and play in a
three-game series against the U.S., recording a goal and an assist. That
fall, she was invited to play with Canada’s National Women’s Team in a
two-game series against the Americans and by March 2020 was named to the
national team for the IIHF Women’s World Championship (which was also
cancelled due to COVID-19).
The humble 23-year-old credits many others with her meteoric rise to the
senior level: her minor hockey coaches, strength and conditioning coaches,
family and Morey, but it is her collegiate coach who turns the tables back
on Thompson, saying she has earned her spot and deserves to be there.
“It is funny that the way the outside world might perceive her story as
coming out of nowhere, but obviously we thought she was incredible when we
recruited her,” Morey says. “I was proud of her even before she made (Team
Canada), but then to see it all come to fruition three years later and to
get the chance that she wanted, I’m so proud of her.”
“Sometimes when I step back and look at it, I kind of laugh,” Thompson says
of her journey to Team Canada. “Freshman, sophomore or junior year ‘Claire’
would have never expected this.
“I got really into my academics and was really excited by a lot of the
stuff I was learning in my independent research…and then now that I’m back
to hockey and so excited about that.
“They really do run in parallel.”
Canada takes silver at 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship
Canadians drop 6-3 decision to United States in gold medal game
BRAMPTON, Ont. – Canada’s National Women’s Team finished just short in its bid for a third-straight IIHF Women’s World Championship gold medal, falling 6-3 to the United States on Sunday night.
Canada took an early lead on a power-play goal from captain Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que./PWHPA), but the Americans equalized before the end of the first period.
The cross-border rivals went back and forth in a fast-paced second period which ended with the Canadians in front 3-2 after 40 minutes thanks to a pair of goals four minutes apart from Brianne Jenner (Oakville, Ont./PWHPA). Renata Fast (Burlington, Ont./PWHPA) chipped in an assist on both Jenner goals.
The Americans tied the game early in the third period and took the lead for good with a pair of power-play markers in the final five minutes.
“Sometimes those games are difficult to process because everything is good, until it isn’t,” said head coach Troy Ryan (Spryfield, N.S.). “It just kind of took a turn with the two penalties and the U.S. capitalizing. All I said to the group after the game was I just wanted to spend time with them instead of having something big and magical to say. I’m proud of the group, they’ve been resilient through so many of things the last few years, and they deserve any of the good that comes to them. We put a lot of focus on being really good teammates; I think this group exudes that, and both players and staff will learn from what could have done better to not be in this situation.”
Following the tournament, Sarah Fillier (Georgetown, Ont./PWHPA) was named Most Valuable Player by media and Top Forward by the IIHF Directorate, and Ann-Renée Desbiens (Clermont, Que./PWHPA) was named Top Goaltender. Fast, Fillier and Poulin were named to the media all-star team.
“It’s hard to put into words right now,” said Poulin. “This one hurts, for sure, especially on home soil, but this group is very special; we’ll learn from it and move forward, but it’s a tough one to swallow.”
“I’m very proud; this is a really special group,” said Jenner. “I think there’s a bit of disbelief because in our dressing room we believed so much that we were going to find a way to win. It stings right now, but we will learn from it and we’ll be back.”
Canada was perfect through the preliminary round, finishing atop Group A with wins over Czechia, Japan, Switzerland and the United States, outscoring its opponents 18-4. Canada booked its spot in the gold medal game with a 3-2 overtime win over Sweden in the quarterfinals and a 5-1 semifinal victory over Switzerland.
In 22 appearances, Canada has captured 12 gold medals at the IIHF Women’s World Championship (1990, 1992, 1994, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2012, 2021, 2022), in addition to nine silver (2005, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2023) and one bronze (2019).
Prior to the gold medal game, the IIHF announced that the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship will be held Utica, New York, tentatively scheduled for April 4-14.
BRAMPTON, Ont. – Canada’s National Women’s Team booked its spot in the gold medal game at the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship following a 5-1 semifinal win over Switzerland on Saturday night at the CAA Centre.
Sarah Fillier (Georgetown, Ont./Princeton University, ECAC) led the way for Canada with a hat trick, giving her a tournament-leading seven goals.
Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, Ont./PWHPA) and Rebecca Johnston (Sudbury, Ont./PWHPA) also scored.
Natalie Spooner (Scarborough, Ont./PWHPA) contributed three assists.
Erin Ambrose (Keswick, Ont./PWHPA), Jaime Bourbonnais (Mississauga, Ont./PWHPA), Emma Maltais (Burlington, Ont./Ohio State University, WCHA), Sarah Nurse (Hamilton, Ont./PWHPA),Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que./PWHPA) and Claire Thompson (Toronto, Ont./PWHPA) added an assist each.
Ann-Renée Desbiens (Clermont, Que./PWHPA) stopped eight of nine shots.
Canada outshot Switzerland 59-9.
Following the game, Poulin,Renata Fast (Burlington, Ont./PWHPA) and Blayre Turnbull (Stellarton, N.S./PWHPA) were named Canada’s top three players of the tournament.
Canada vs. United States (gold medal game) – Sunday, April 16, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.
“I think we were pretty happy with our start. We knew eventually we were going to wear them down and something was going to go in. It was about sticking to our plan and not getting individual, and that’s what we did. Overall, we’re also super happy with how everyone played, everyone up and down the lineup got in, which was nice especially as we have back-to-back games and the opportunity to play for a gold medal.”
Fillier on a total team effort
“I thought tonight we didn’t give them much offensively and I thought we as a team were better offensively. We attacked the net more, mixed it with both high offence and low offence and scored a power-play goal. We’re excited to be in the situation and have the opportunity to play for a gold medal, but we’re not looking ahead. We still have to break down tonight’s game and see what we can learn, but we still have little improvements to make as a group and hopefully between tonight and tomorrow we can do that.”
Head coach Troy Ryan (Spryfield, N.S.) on his team peaking at the right time
“I think when you play really good goaltenders, it makes you a better goal scorer. It really does start from our group in the sense that with Ann-Renee, Emerance and Soupy (Kristen Campbell), those are some of the best goaltenders in the world. The fact that we can practice against them really enables us to be able to put what we practice into games, so when you can get 40 or 50 shots on goal a couple are going to end up in the back of the net.”
Nurse on the team’s 113 shots on goal the last two games
BRAMPTON, Ont. – Canada’s National Women’s Team is off to the semifinals at the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship after a thrilling 3-2 overtime win over Sweden in the quarterfinals Thursday night at the CAA Centre.
Sarah Nurse (Hamilton, Ont./PWHPA) scored twice, including the overtime winner 4:26 into the extra period.
Blayre Turnbull (Stellarton, N.S./PWHPA) had the other goal.
Renata Fast (Burlington, Ont./PWHPA), Erin Ambrose (Keswick, Ont./PWHPA), Brianne Jenner (Oakville, Ont./PWHPA), Sarah Fillier (Georgetown, Ont./Princeton University, ECAC) and Jocelyne Larocque (Ste. Anne, Man./PWHPA) recorded an assist each.
Emerance Maschmeyer (Bruderheim, Alta./PWHPA) stopped 12 of 14 shots.
Canada outshot Sweden 54-14.
Canada vs. TBD (semifinal) – Saturday, April 15, 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT.
“The shift before, they wore down their players on the ice, so by the time Filly (Sarah Fillier) and I got on the ice I think they were pretty tired. When she came around the net all I thought about was that if this pass comes over to me, we’re crossing the mid-lane and we’re getting a shot off. I saw her hands kind of drop really quick and I decided to put it upstairs.”
“They play with full body contact over in Sweden so that’s something we were prepared for. That’s a team that wanted to win, and every time somebody plays against Team Canada they give us their best game and that’s what we talk about in the locker room that every team will play us hard. We would have loved to get it done in regulation, but things happen in games and we’re happy to get the win in overtime.”
Nurse on her game-winning goal and facing a tough Swedish opponent
“We want to do a better job of early on in a game, doing the little things that make us difficult to play against instead of resorting to our offensive-zone play that we end up usually finishing games with. You don’t get those opportunities unless you set your game up with chipping some pucks by pressure or mid-lane driving and doing some below goal-line offence. We have to be better at doing the little things to set up our game so we can roll into our more wide-open offence later in the game. You have to earn that, you just don’t get it from your first shift.”
Head coach Troy Ryan (Spryfield, N.S.) on better managing their game going into the semis
“I think we just tried to regroup. Everyone took one or two seconds to take a deep breath, look around and see how lucky we are to be surrounded by each other. We knew it wasn’t over; they have a great team and a great goalie but we needed to decide how we were going to respond in overtime. We kept them in their zone, we kept possession and that’s something we take pride in – to keep possession and make sure the next group is ready to go.”
Poulin on the mood on the bench after Sweden tied the game with nine seconds remaining
BRAMPTON, Ont. – Canada’s National Women’s Team outlasted the United States 4-3 in a shootout on Monday night, closing out preliminary-round play atop the Group A standings with a perfect 4-0 record at the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship.
Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, Ont./PWHPA) scored the game-winner in the ninth round of the shootout.
Sarah Fillier (Georgetown, Ont./Princeton University, ECAC) scored her team-leading fourth goal of the tournament and added an assist.
Laura Stacey (Kleinburg, Ont./PWHPA) and Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que./PWHPA) also scored.
Erin Ambrose (Keswick, Ont./PWHPA), Emily Clark (Saskatoon, Sask./PWHPA), Sarah Nurse (Hamilton, Ont./PWHPA), Claire Thompson (Toronto, Ont./PWHPA) and Micah Zandee-Hart (Saanichton, B.C./PWHPA) added an assist each.
Ann-Renée Desbiens (Clermont, Que./PWHPA) stopped 26 of 29 shots on her 29th birthday.
Canada outshot the U.S. 35-29.
Canada vs. TBD (quarterfinal) – Thursday, April 13, 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT.
“It’s something I often say to teams that I coach that if the scoreboard falls from the ceiling, we need to act like we expected it to happen. I think our group has a pretty good mindset of that, and I thought everybody (athletes and coaches) did a great job. Everyone fell into their roles and kept things calm on the bench so I could share it with the officials. Although it never happens in that order, you’re usually prepared for it so, you talk through it, communicate as much as you can and it had no impact on us.”
Head coach Troy Ryan (Spryfield, N.S.) on the game continuing after a scoreboard malfunction and delayed game
“I’ve shot in a couple of shootouts in the past, but [Ryan] just turned to me and said ‘Are you ready, Ratty?’ and I said ‘Yeah, sure,’ and I think after that I just blacked out. What a cool feeling and I don’t even remember what I did after because I was so excited; I just screamed out loud because that’s all I could think of.”
“The most proud thing is we won as a team, everyone contributed and everyone made important plays in the game. We can leave it knowing we played a complete game. Obviously, we don’t want to give up two goals at the end, but we stayed calm and resilient and I think that’s something we can take away from this game.”
Rattray on her shootout winner and the team’s performance
“As a goalie its always about stopping the next puck. Sometimes you have bounces that don’t go your way, but that’s out of your control. You just focus on stopping the next one and that’s what I tried to do today. The team helped with their scoring and Ratty with a big shootout winner in the end, I was happy she got it. It was an interesting ending, a good performance from both goalies but happy to finish first in Group A.”
BRAMPTON, Ont. – Canada’s National Women’s Team made it three consecutive wins at the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship following a 5-0 shutout victory over Japan on Saturday night.
Sarah Fillier (Georgetown, Ont./Princeton University, ECAC) led the way with a pair of goals and an assist.
Sarah Nurse (Hamilton, Ont./PWHPA) recorded a goal and an assist.
Brianne Jenner (Oakville, Ont./PWHPA) and Natalie Spooner (Scarborough, Ont./PWHPA) added Canada’s other goals.
Erin Ambrose (Keswick, Ont./PWHPA) and Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que./PWHPA) chipped in with a pair of assists each.
Renata Fast (Burlington, Ont./PWHPA), Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, Ont./PWHPA), Danielle Serdachny (Edmonton, Alta./Colgate University, ECAC) and Blayre Turnbull (Stellarton, N.S.) recorded an assist each.
Emily Clark (Saskatoon, Sask./PWHPA) played in her 100th international game with Canada’s National Women’s Team.
Emerance Maschmeyer (Bruderheim, Alta./PWHPA) turned aside 11 shots for the shutout.
Canada outshot Japan 60-11.
Canada vs. United States – Monday, April 10 (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT)
“I think in the game today we had a bit of a mindset to get a better start than we have had and fall into the way we play instead of letting the game dictate the way we play. I think there were little spells where we got individualistic, but what stopped it was every time we got that way, we ended up turning the puck over and took a penalty as a result of it, and that was the thing we needed to snap us out of it.”
Head coach Troy Ryan (Spryfield, N.S.) on his team breaking bad habits
“If you just know Nursey and Spoons as people, they’re incredibly humble and positive, so it’s easy to be their linemate. It’s really easy to play in that light and fun atmosphere. They’re incredibly skilled, and when they get me the puck I’m usually in a pretty good spot.”
Fillier on her three-point night playing with Spooner and Nurse
“Any of these teams are very opportunistic and Japan is just that, so whenever they get their shot they are usually quality shots. I know that mentally I have to stay in it, so I do some visualization, move around a little bit and communicate with my defence. I also just try to play the puck and find ways to stay engaged because I know my next shot will probably be a tough one.
- Maschmeyer on staying focused in games
They are essential to a hockey team, working long hours in the shadows, far
from the spotlight. They aren’t household names. But no athlete who hits
the ice with skates on their feet and a stick in their hands will tell you
that their work is not appreciated. That their presence is not comforting.
Serge LeBlanc is one of those who makes sure players worry about nothing
other than their performance on the ice. As an equipment manager, he is a
master at setting up a dressing room. And the phrase " other related
duties" certainly applies.
"I know, for example, during a game, that I will have to change blades
because a player can be tougher with her blades than another,” he says. “I
think my job is to provide a personalized service to each player."
A proud Acadian from Sainte-Marie-de-Kent, N.B., and a resident of the
nearby village of Grande-Digue, LeBlanc has been involved with Team Canada
for over 20 years. The Université de Moncton equipment manager has never
hesitated to answer the Hockey Canada call, including twice at the
Olympic Winter Games (2018 and 2022) with Canada’s Women's Olympic Team and twice at the
IIHF World Junior Championship (2008 and 2011) with Canada’s National Junior Team.
LeBlanc spent 11 years (and almost 1,000 games) in the Quebec Major Junior
Hockey League (QMJHL) with the Moncton Wildcats. Along the
way, he has participated in various Hockey Canada and international events
with both men's and women's teams.
Since 2017, he has spent most of his time in arenas, on buses and in
airports across the country and around the world with Canada’s National
Women’s Team. A natural bon vivant, he has his own way of
contributing to the success of Team Canada.
"Serge is an extraordinary person," says goaltender Ann-Renée Desbiens.
"You know that no matter what time you arrive at the arena, he's going to
be there. He's the first to come, last to go. He's always happy to see us
and he always wants to go the extra mile to make sure our lives are as
smooth as possible."
"When you see Serge, he puts a smile on your face," adds veteran forward
Brianne Jenner. "He's sort of like that fun uncle that everyone has in
their family. That's the way I think of Serge. He's just he's reliable but
a great time and just he fits in so well with the girls. He's one of the
A valued and respected mentor
LeBlanc is not the only one who takes good care of the players. Andrew
Davis joined him on the equipment staff this season, and the two are
teaming up again at the 2023
IIHF Women's World Championship in Brampton. Davis first met LeBlanc in December 2015, when Canada’s
National Women’s Under-18 Team played an exhibition game at Concordia prior
to 2016 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship.
"It was the first time that I met anyone from Hockey Canada," recalls
Davis. "I was so impressed with how he worked."
Davis’ first official Hockey Canada appearance came at Canada’s
National Women's Under-18 Team selection camp in August 2016. He was able to learn from LeBlanc, who was
mentoring equipment managers ahead of a series against the United States.
"It was really the perfect experience to start with, because he was able to
focus on showing us the Hockey Canada standard, which is the highest
standard," notes Davis, a Hudson Heights, Que., native.
So how does LeBlanc go about mentoring the next generation of equipment
"I try to show them what helps me to stay effective and to answer their
questions," says the man known affectionately as Bayo in his home province.
"It's not that I think I'm better than anyone else, that’s absolutely not
it, but with my personality and the way I've acted, I've been able to learn
a way to operate that makes me effective."
A trusted confidant
If you ask Davis what LeBlanc is like behind the scenes, a smile comes to
"In any arena we went into [during the
Rivalry Series], in Canada or the U.S., he wanted to know people’s stories. He likes to
connect with people at the arena, the players and the staff. He's very
approachable. He has won at almost every level. I almost never hear him
talk about the wins, it's always about the people he's met along the way."
Desbiens agrees: "He knows everyone! I don’t think there’s anyone who
doesn’t know Serge. He’s very warm-hearted, jovial and spontaneous."
LeBlanc's interpersonal skills serve everyone on the team, including head
coach Troy Ryan, who frequently consults the dressing room veteran to help
"We did our first event together in 2006 [at the
World Under-17 Hockey Challenge]," says LeBlanc. We’ve known each other long enough that he trusts me to
ask any question and I’ll be honest with him. He can, for example, ask me
about the personality of the players as to whether they are a good fit
within the team or not."
His golden moment
Throughout his extensive experience in game, both domestically and abroad,
LeBlanc has made countless memories he will cherish. His favourite? He
"For sure, it's [winning an Olympic gold medal in] Beijing [with Canada’s
Women’s Olympic Team],” he says. “I could have retired at that point, and I
would have been happy with my career on the international stage. So,
there's no doubt that seeing these girls for four years and having to deal
with COVID and all that, the way they acted, trained and prepared, winning
that was definitely the highlight of my career."
But there’s one more that deserves a mention.
"A personal highlight for me was reaching the 100-game mark with Team
Canada in November 2021 in Finland,” LeBlanc says. “It was special to
experience that, too."
Special for him, but also for the players who got to be part of that
special night in the lead up to Beijing 2022.
"It was a very special moment," remembers Desbiens. "He’s very appreciated
in our locker room, someone that we like to have around the team. One
hundred games with the Canadian team, it’s really impressive. I'm sure he
has many more to go. Every time we invite him, he comes and he's always
Women's Worlds Recap - Canada 5, Czechia 1
Two goals from Marie-Philip Poulin and four points from Blayre Turnbull led Canada to victory over Czechia
BRAMPTON, Ont. – Canada’s National Women’s Team earned its second win in as many games with a 5-1 victory over Czechia at the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship Friday night at the CAA Centre.
Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que./PWHPA) scored her 100th international goal with Canada’s National Women’s Team to open the scoring 8:03 into the game. Poulin joins Danielle Goyette, Jayna Hefford and Hayley Wickenheiser in reaching the century mark. She added her second of the game in the third period.
Blayre Turnbull (Stellarton, N.S./PWHPA) added a goal and three assists.Renata Fast (Burlington, Ont./PWHPA) and Laura Stacey (Kleinburg, Ont./PWHPA) scored Canada’s other goals.
Brianne Jenner (Oakville, Ont./PWHPA) and Jocelyne Larocque (Ste. Anne, Man./PWHPA) chipped in with two helpers apiece.
Emily Clark (Saskatoon, Sask./PWHPA) and Ella Shelton (Ingersoll, Ont./PWHPA) added an assist each.
Natalie Spooner (Scarborough, Ont./PWHPA) played in her 150th international game with Canada’s National Women’s Team.
Ann-Renée Desbiens (Clermont, Que.) turned aside 14 of 15 shots.
Canada outshot Czechia 42-15.
Canada vs. Japan – Saturday, April 8 (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT)
“Obviously she’s a special player who is a game changer. She knows how to break a game open with her skill, her physicality and her passion, and [she is] a great leader. She’s the ultimate leader; the person she is, the character she brings, the player she is and the skill. Everything you want in a leader, she has it.”
Head coach Troy Ryan (Spryfield, N.S.) on the talent of Poulin
“Being included among those women (Goyette, Hefford, Wickenheiser) is special, but tonight when I hit that milestone, coming back to the bench and seeing the smile on my teammates and seeing how happy they are for me personally is something that will stick with me. It is very special and doing on home soil is very special, but we also have a goal; we’re not done and we have a lot of work still to do here.”
Poulin on her 100th international goal
“I think the first two periods really wasn’t our game or our style. We were on our heels a bit, but Czechia played great; they were fast and played us aggressive. At intermission between the second and third period we talked about focussing on our style not only on the ice but on the bench. We got quiet in the second when things weren’t going our way, so our focus in the third was to celebrate the little things and get back to the smiley, happy Team Canada that we are. Czechia plays with a lot of confidence, which is impressive considering they are fairly new to this pool. I like the way they play; any team we play wants to beat us and they didn’t stop that, and I think it was fun to play a team that was hungry like them.”
Turnbull on facing a determined and physical Czech team
BRAMPTON, Ont. – Canada’s National Women’s Team opened up the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship with a 4-0 shutout win over Switzerland on Tuesday night at the CAA Centre.
Natalie Spooner (Scarborough, Ont./PWHPA) made an immediate impact in her return four months after giving birth to her first child, scoring Canada’s first goal and adding an assist.
Sarah Fillier (Georgetown, Ont./PWHPA) and Sarah Nurse (Hamilton, Ont./PWHPA) also chipped in with a goal and an assist each.
Rebecca Johnston (Sudbury, Ont./PWHPA) scored Canada’s other goal.
Erin Ambrose (Keswick, Ont./PWHPA) and Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, Ont./PWHPA) recorded an assist each.
Brianne Jenner (Oakville, Ont./PWHPA) played in her 150th international game with Canada’s National Women’s Team.
Ann-Renée Desbiens (Clermont, Que.) made 12 saves for the shutout.
Canada outshot Switzerland 53-12.
Canada vs. Czechia – Friday, April 7 (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT)
“I feel pretty good, obviously I haven’t had that many games, I’ve only had six before this, so not that many. I’m just trying to get better every game as we go through the tournament.”
“It’s been pretty amazing how supportive my teammates and Hockey Canada have been. It’s a lot for me to juggle, but Rory has got so many aunties around who hold him at meals and make sure he’s happy and my mom is here helping, so it’s been great so far.”
Spooner on her return to Canada’s National Women’s Team
“Playing with Spooner and Johnny for a while and seeing them work their way back and work so hard to be where they are right now is inspiring for all of us. I think if you looked at the bench when both of them scored, it pretty much erupted. For Dachs (Danielle Serdachny), too, we’ve all been there, we’ve all had our first worlds, so we’re excited to have her in the lineup. We’re cheering her on, supporting her so she can be the best that she can be.”
Micah Zandee-Hart (Saanichton, B.C./PWHPA) on celebrating her teammates’ successes
“Every time we play Switzerland, they are always very physical and they have a lot of skill up front. For us as a group, we did a great job of getting better every period. Obviously we had to get that first period under our belt, but after that everything started to flow a little bit better and I was really proud of how the group played today.”
NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. – Canada’s National Women’s Team defeated Finland 3-1 at the Gale Centre in its lone pre-tournament game Saturday ahead of the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship.
Brianne Jenner (Oakville, Ont./PWHPA) broke a scoreless tie midway through the second period and also added an assist.
Emily Clark (Saskatoon, Sask./PWHPA) and Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, Que./PWHPA) also scored.
Renata Fast (Burlington, Ont./PWHPA) chipped in a pair of assists.
Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, Ont./PWHPA) and Laura Stacey (Burlington, Ont./PWHPA) added an assist each.
Ann-Renée Desbiens (Clermont, Que./PWHPA) and Emerance Maschmeyer (Bruderheim, Alta./PWHPA) split goaltending duties; Desbiens turned aside all seven shots she faced, while Maschmeyer stopped 11 of 12.
Canada outshot Finland 23-19.
“The game didn’t go necessarily how we would want it to go, but when we look back on it now, there is a lot of good things that happened. A big part of some of our frustrations was the good things Finland did. They were clogging up the middle and they didn’t sit back; they were aggressive and moved the puck well. We tried to force too many things and our passing was off, but as we started to spread things out in the offensive zone we started to look like ourselves.”
Head coach Troy Ryan (Spryfield, N.S.) on overcoming a slow start
“It was a good exhibition game for us in the way Finland came out strong and played us physically. It was a style of game we haven’t seen the past few years and it forced us to keep grinding and putting pucks on net. We had to stick with it for the full 60 minutes and we got better as the game went on.”
Desbiens on facing a tough Finland team
“I think we do a great job of not hanging our heads [when getting scored upon]. There are going to be some bad shifts we are going to play in this tournament. Obviously, we don’t have the intention of doing that, but we are good at just letting it go and not beating ourselves up over it. We learn from it, but it doesn’t affect the confidence and we just go back at it.”
Jenner on Canada’s quick scoring responses against their opponents
BRAMPTON, Ont. – With less than one month until the puck drops on the 2023 IIHF Women's World Championship, Hockey Canada and the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association (OWHA) have unveiled the pre-tournament schedule and training camp locations for competing teams ahead of puck drop on April 5.
Six communities across southern Ontario will play host to seven pre-tournament games featuring all 10 competing federations from March 29–April 2.
“The pre-tournament games provide a great opportunity to share our love of hockey and Canadian hospitality by welcoming these exceptional athletes to Ontario,” said Fran Rider, president and chief executive officer of the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association. “Games will be exciting, provide inspiration to young girls and others in the various communities and will support the growth and development of the game at local levels.”
Women’s Worlds Pre-Tournament Schedule
March 29 | France vs. University of Toronto | Varsity Arena | Toronto
March 31 | Germany vs. Switzerland | Sadlon Arena | Barrie
March 31 | Japan vs. Hungary | Canlan Sports | North York
April 1 | Canada vs. Finland | Gale Centre | Niagara Falls
April 2 | Sweden vs. Switzerland | Aurora Community Centre | Aurora
April 2 | France vs. Japan | Port Credit Memorial Arena | Mississauga
April 2 | Germany vs. Hungary | Canlan Sports | North York
Canada’s National Women’s Team will hold its pre-tournament camp at the Gale Centre in Niagara Falls, which will also play host to Finland. Aurora will host Sweden at the Aurora Community Centre, while Switzerland and Germany will practice in Barrie at the Peggy Hill Team Community Centre and Sadlon Arena, respectively. Japan and France will hold their camps at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre in Mississauga, while Hungary will practice at Canlan Sports in North York and Czechia will station at the Iroquois Park Sports Centre in Whitby.
Hockey Canada and the OWHA would like to recognize and thank the Province of Ontario for providing $500,000 in funding support for the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship. Throughout Ontario, legacy initiatives will be established following the tournament that will benefit grassroots hockey for years to come.
“The Ontario government is proud to support the 2023 IIHF World Women’s Championship – a premier event that draws visitors to our province, stimulates economic activity in local communities and showcases Ontario as one of the best places to train, compete and excel in sport,” said Neil Lumsden, minister of tourism, culture and sport. “Congratulations to the world-class athletes whose skill and determination inspires everyone who shares a love of the game. I would like to thank Hockey Canada, the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association, the IIHF and the City of Brampton — as well as the organizing committee, coaches, officials and volunteers — for their ongoing efforts to make this event a success.”
Recent editions of the IIHF Women’s World Championship hosted in Canada have brought significant economic impact to the host provinces. British Columbia (2016) benefited from $7.4 million in economic impact throughout the province, with $6.2 million being generated in Kamloops alone. Ontario (2013) was even more successful, bringing in $14.3 million to the province, of which $8.8 million occurred in Ottawa. As with all IIHF events hosted in Canada, a legacy plan for the profits of the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship will support grassroots women’s hockey initiatives across Ontario through the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association and throughout Canada.
Fans interested in attending pre-tournament games can purchase tickets through local venues. Tickets to select IIHF Women’s World Championship games can be purchased at HockeyCanada.ca/Tickets.
Canada’s pre-tournament game against Finland on April 1 will be livestreamed at HockeyCanada.ca. TSN and RDS, the official broadcast partners of Hockey Canada, will broadcast all 31 tournament games from the CAA Centre in Brampton, providing extensive coverage throughout the event.
For more information on Hockey Canada and the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship, please visit HockeyCanada.ca, or follow along via social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For more information:
Esther Madziya Manager, Communications Hockey Canada