CALGARY — Beating archrival United States and earning a spot on the world championship team are the stakes for the players named to the Canadian women's hockey team for an upcoming series against the reigning world and Olympic champions.
Forwards Marie-Philip Poulin, Rebecca Johnston, Brianne Jenner, Natalie Spooner, defenders Laura Fortino and Brigette Lacquette and goaltender Shannon Szabados were among the 23 players Hockey Canada announced Wednesday for February's three games against the U.S.
The series opens Feb. 12 in London, Ont., before shifting to Toronto on Feb. 14 and closing Feb. 17 in Detroit.
Performances in the series will go a long way in determining Canada's roster for the 2019 world championship April 4-14 in Espoo, Finland.
"It's exciting to have the opportunity to showcase our sport and its elite athletes from both sides of the border, and we hope to inspire young girls to play the game," said Hockey Canada director of women's teams Gina Kingsbury.
"This series will also be an important evaluation process and measuring stick for us as we look ahead to the IIHF women's world championship in Finland in April."
The roster for the U.S. series was chosen by Kingsbury, head coach Perry Pearn, head scout Melody Davidson and region and regional scouts
Fourteen players from Canada's 2018 Olympic team, which lost the gold-medal game in a shootout to the U.S. in Pyeongchang, South Korea, will suit up again in the series.
Laura Stacey, Jillian Saulnier, Sarah Nurse, Ann-Sophie Bettez, Blayre Turnbull, Brittany Howard, Jamie Lee Rattray, Rebecca Leslie and Victoria Bach round out the forwards chosen for the series roster.
Jocelyne Larocque, Renata Fast, Halli Krzyzaniak, Erin Ambrose and Kate Goseling join Fortino and Lacquette on defence.
Goaltenders Genevieve Lacasse and Emerance Maschmeyer were also chosen for the squad.