The Canadian Women’s roster, consisting of 23 players, has been announced this morning. All nine of the Calgary Inferno players trying out made the cut:
- G Genevieve Lacasse
- D Brigette Lacquette
- D Meaghan Mikkelson
- F Rebbeca Johnston
- F Jill Saulnier
- F Bailey Bram
- F Brianne Jenner
- F Haley Irwin
- F Blayre Turnbull
There’s basically an entire lineup of just Inferno players. The current General Manager of the Inferno, Kristen Hagg, has played with some of these players in 2014-15 and 2015-16, and as Assistant GM last season, she’s worked closely with all of them.
“I am very proud and really just so happy for all of them.” Said the GM of the Inferno, who are in a three-way tie for first place in the CWHL. “They are such impressive athletes and people, and all bring something special to a team. Having been involved with the Inferno since 2014, I have been witnessed to four years of hard work and dedication since the last Olympics. Their commitment to the game is astounding. I cannot wait to see them on the ice in Korea.”
The Canadian roster this season is quite similar to what it looked like in 2014. Lots of returning faces (14, to be exact) and some returning faces from last season’s Inferno’s roster, including Lacasse, Mikkelson, Johnston, Jenner, and Irwin. With a goal post that saved the Canadian Women to help them tie the game late and win Gold in overtime, Hagg thinks they can do it again.
“The Canadian roster is obviously always impressive; as is the US roster. The difference at the end of the day is narrow, and it likely comes down to how they perform as a team. Having watched their past five games against the US, I have seen the progression of their team game and can see the collective confidence growing as they move along. Knowing how motivated these players are, particularly with the way things have gone for them at the World Championships the past three years, I am confident they will come out on top at the Olympics.”
With the Inferno leading the standings right now, despite losing nine players to Team Canada, Kristen Hagg had to do some major recruitment this past off-season. And clearly, it’s been successful. So, are there players to keep an eye on right now, especially with a few rookies on the team?
“I have already been telling people to watch for Sophie Shirley on the Women's National Team roster come the next Olympics. Not only is she incredibly talented, she also has great vision and sees the ice very well at only 18 years of age. She could already be an effective player at that level, so after a full season in the CWHL and three seasons in the NCAA, I think she will be a major impact player at the national team level.”
(Psst, in her first year in the CWHL at the age of 18, Shirley currently leads all Inferno players with 11 points in 12 games and is tied for sixth among all rookies with 0.92 points per game.)
The Canadian roster is the first to be announced and their first game will be on Feb. 11, 2018, where they’ll go head to head vs. South Korea.