We’re still a few months off from hockey season, but this week Hockey Canada gives women’s hockey fans a chance to watch some high-level hockey from Winsport Arena in Calgary.
The National Women’s Development Team (or Under-22 team) and Women’s Under-18 Team are holding concurrent camps this week, where a total of 89 players are vying for a spot on one of two teams. The finalized Development and Under-18 teams will then take on their counterparts from USA Hockey in a three-game series in Lake Placid (more on that next week).
Team Japan, Team France, a team of U Sports all-stars and the Russian Under-18 team have been invited to play against Team Gold and Team Red in the Development Team camp, and the Russian Under-18 team will also take on Team Blue and Team White in the Under-18 camp.
Hockey Canada will stream all of Team Canada’s games on their website. It’s a great chance to get a look at Canada’s up and coming players.
How to Watch
When: Sunday, August 4 - Sunday, August 11
Where: Winsport Arena, Calgary
Streaming: Hockey Canada
If you’re local to Calgary, games are open to the public and free. If nothing else, you do not get that many chances to see Team Japan legend Nana Fujimoto up close and in person so if you’ve got the time for the love of hockey, go!
Development Team Summer Showcase schedule
|Sunday, Aug 4||9:00 PM||USports vs Russia|
|Monday, Aug 5||5:45 PM||Gold vs Japan||Hockey Canada|
|Monday, Aug 5||8:45 PM||Red vs France||Hockey Canada|
|Tuesday, Aug 6||3:00 PM||Japan vs USports|
|Tuesday, Aug 6||8:45 PM||France vs Gold||Hockey Canada|
|Wednesday, Aug 7||1:30 PM||USports vs France|
|Thursday, Aug 8||2:45 PM||Gold vs USports||Hockey Canada|
|Thursday, Aug 8||5:45 PM||Red vs Japan||Hockey Canada|
|Friday, Aug 9||3:00 PM||Red vs USports||Hockey Canada|
|Friday, Aug 9||6:15 PM||Japan vs France|
|Saturday, Aug 10||12:00 PM||Japan vs USports|
|Saturday, Aug 10||2:45 PM||Gold vs Red||Hockey Canada|
|Saturday, Aug 10||8:00 PM||France vs Russia|
Who to watch
Prospect-watching has yet to become a national pastime on the women’s side of things the way that it has for the men (if you’re an avid NCAA, U Sports or Under-18 Women’s World Championships watcher you can yell at me in the comments), so here are some pointers on who to look for. The focus here is on the Development team players—only five of the Under-18s were on the 2019 World Championship team so there’s not a lot of information to go on.
Names you might already recognize include Jaime Bourbonnais, who played on the senior team at this year’s Worlds, as well as her 2018 4 Nations Cup teammates Sarah Fillier and Kristin O’Neill. Amy Potomak was centralized with the senior team before the Sochi Olympics but didn’t make the final cut. (This is actually Potomak’s first Development Team camp—she spent 2016, 2017 and 2018 at camp with the senior team.) Sophie Shirley spent the 2017-18 season tearing it up with the Calgary Inferno and won a national championship with Wisconsin this spring, and Daryl Watts won the Patty Kazmaier Award for best women’s hockey player in the NCAA in her frosh season of 2017-18.
UPDATE: Darryl Watts has been replaced by Émilie Lavoie. Hopefully nothing serious going on there.
Other up and comers are the players who took home gold in January at the Under-18 Women’s World Championships in Japan. Julia Gosling, Alexie Guay, Raygan Kirk, Maggie MacEachern, Danielle Serdachny and Grace Shirley will all be looking to prove they can continue their development and hang with the more experienced players. (There are a number of people who are willing to line up to tell you that Guay is a lock for the 2022 Olympics. Judge for yourselves!)
At the other end of the scale are players who have never been invited to a Hockey Canada camp before. Kirsten Chamberlin, Kelsey Roberts, Jessica DiGirolamo and Jessie Eldridge will be looking to make the best of this chance.
Eldridge, who has been part of an improving team at Colgate University, is one of a few players who are on their last chance to catch the eye of those scouting for the senior team. She and goalie Marlène Boissonault have both finished their NCAA eligibility. Defender Kati Tabin still has one more year at Quinnipiac University, but she and McGill goalie Tricia Deguire will both be 22 by the end of this year. Positionally, Tabin might have the best chance, as Canada’s been weak on defence the last few years.
KATI TABIN— QU Women's Hockey (@QU_WIH) November 17, 2018
Beauty of a pass from Kenzie Lancaster! pic.twitter.com/1cEl2qTfdw
Deguire is an interesting case—this is her third time at Development camp but you’ll actually see her in net for the U Sports team, even though she’s considered part of the Development team. The same thing happened in 2017.
Deguire (McGill U), Chamberlin (U Alberta) and Roberts (U Calgary) are part of Hockey Canada’s increasing focus on U Sports as a prospect pipeline. Along with the U Sports all-star team, there are three other U Sports players in camp. Rosalie Bégin-Cyr and Emmy Fecteau come from the Concordia Stingers, under the guidance of head coach Julie Chu, while Kendra Woodland spent last season as the starting goalie for the newly reinstated University of New Brunswick Reds.
Finally, three players who have made their mark at the U-18 level in recent years and are starting to turn some heads at the university level. Emma Maltais has led the scoring at Ohio State in both of her two seasons, her second year by a significant margin. Maggie Connors, a graduate of the famous Shattuck St. Mary’s, scored 43 points in her debut season with the Princeton Tigers, tied for second place behind fellow frosh and camp invitee Sarah Fillier. Ashton Bell, who captained the 2017 Under-18 team for Canada, made a splash in her first year at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, good enough for second in team scoring, although her points fell off a bit in her second year. (Hockey Canada has her listed as a defender for this camp which might be an error, but positions in women’s hockey can be somewhat fluid so I’m not willing to say for sure.)
GOAL! Maggie Connors what a snipe from Sarah Fillier and No. 10 Princeton leads 1-0 pic.twitter.com/N9ZUwQPkQY— Princeton Hockey (@PWIH) November 30, 2018
After naming almost half the Development Team, I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the U Sports team except to say that while U Sports gets a bad rap, underestimate them at your peril. The all-star team has won about half their matches over the three seasons they’ve been invited to this camp, and produced a number of CWHL players. Heck, some of Team France are current or former U Sports players. Alex Poznikoff, who is on the U Sports roster again this year, was selected to compete against Team USA as part of the Development Team last after last year’s camp. If you’re impressed by what you see, I can guarantee your local U Sports team would love to see you show up for a game or two.
Team Japan and Team France are both bringing rosters that are very close to their teams at the 2019 World Championships. This is the first time France has participated—they’re still learning to score at a high enough level to beat the top teams but their roster includes former CWHLers and they’ve got a drive to get back to the top level after being relegated in 2019. As mentioned, Team Japan will be in Halifax in 2020. They’re missing a few top players, both to injury and to SDHL commitments. In international play, Japan just keeps getting better—they held the eventual gold medalist Team USA to only four goals at Worlds, and their tightly organized systems should be a fun challenge for the development teams. If you’re in Calgary to watch, say hi to former Toronto Fury Sena Suzuki for us!
If you want to follow along at home, I’ve put the rosters of all the participating teams up online—as of this writing Canada’s rosters have yet to be split into the Red and Gold and Blue and White teams, and there are no jersey numbers for anyone, but it’s a start.