This year’s Canadian centralization roster represents a changing of the guard for the entire program ahead of the 2021 IIHF Women's World Hockey Championship.

There are a number of roster spots at forward and defence up for grabs ahead of cuts on Thursday, with the possibility that as many as 10 players could make their world championship debut later this month.

The current group in Calgary has just five players who are over 30 years old, led by stars Marie-Philip Poulin, Brianne Jenner, and Natalie Spooner.

Gone are roster mainstays of the past such as Laura Fortino, Meghan Agosta, and Brigette Lacquette, veterans who played significant roles at previous Olympics and world championships. 

Among those vying to take their place is a quadrant of current NCAA players in Ashton Bell, Emma Maltais, Julia Gosling, and Sarah Fillier in what head coach Troy Ryan called a “changing of the cycle” for the program. The other players on the centralization roster played in the Professional Women's Hockey Players Association regional hubs this past season.

TSN spoke with Bell, Maltais, and Gosling (Fillier was unavailable for an interview) about their experience at camp, and had Ryan weigh in on all four players. 

Ashton Bell, D, 21, University of Minnesota-Duluth

On her experience at training camp:

“It’s been awesome so far. The older girls have been great showing us the ropes and answering any questions we have.”

On having the chance to learn from players she grew up admiring:

“I have definitely looked up to a lot of these girls growing up and watching them compete at Olympics. Jocelyne Larocque and Renata Fast have been awesome with me, just helping me out and, if I have any questions, just being open to answer them for me.”

Ryan on what Bell brings to the program: 

“Ashton is a great player. I had the privilege of coaching her at the U18 World Championship for Canada. She previously was a forward, so she’s just transitioning from a forward to a D. With that, you have to give players time to adjust, and Ashton’s done a great job adjusting. She has a big presence, plays the game the right way, good body posture, good point shot. She’s fun to work with right now.”

Emma Maltais, F, 21 , Ohio State

On her experience at training camp:

“It’s really a remarkable experience. We get to look up to all the older girls, a lot of which are our role models growing up. Just being here in general is such an honour, and then getting the opportunity to learn from them is something you can’t even explain.”

On having the chance to learn from players she grew up admiring:

“Marie-Philip Poulin and Natalie Spooner are two particular players I looked up to growing up. Natalie also went to Ohio State and Poulin is such an amazing player. It’s really cool to get to know them as people, too.”

Ryan on what Maltais brings to the program:

“Watching Emma at practice, she’s just a ball of energy. One of the things we’re trying to do is play the game a little faster and the way she forechecks is the way we would like our entire team to forecheck. She’s hungry on pucks. She doesn’t mind playing physical and she’s been a great addition to our program.”

Julia Gosling, F, 20, St. Lawrence University

On her experience at training camp:

“It’s really just an unbelievable experience and we learn a lot from these girls because they’ve been through so much through hockey. Just looking up to them and learning is unreal and is just going to make us better hockey players.”

On having the chance to learn from players she grew up admiring:

“Mine is Natalie Spooner and Brianne Jenner. Being from Ontario, and watching them in the Olympics in 2014 is when I started idolizing these people. Whenever I saw them at any rink, I was like, ‘Oh my God. They’re so cool and so good at hockey.’ Now being with them, it’s an unreal experience and so good to get to know them.”

Ryan on what Gosling brings to the program:

“She’s been great. I think she’s the youngest player that we have in the mix, but the special thing about her is that she’s such a great athlete that the things we throw at her, she can adjust and implement them into her on-ice game. She has a great stick, long reach, and great shot.”

Sarah Fillier, F, 21, Princeton

Ryan on what Fillier brings to the program: 

“Sarah is another one that played on the same U18 team I coached previously. Sarah plays the game at such a fast rate of speed. She’s a great playmaker, she can finish. She’s done a great job at Princeton. Every time we went down to watch her, she’s been dominant. We’re very excited to have her in the program. The biggest thing with her is understanding how good she can be at this level. If she plays with confidence, I think we’re going to see some great things from her.”