Time to get acquainted

Kenn Oliver
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4 Nations tourney provides members of new-look Team Canada a chance to bond

Eight of the 22 women who will make up Canada’s national hockey team for next week’s 4 Nations Cup touched down in St. John’s Wednesday evening.

Among them were Team Canada veteran and four-time Olympian Jayna Hefford and a 2010 Olympic team blueliner Tessa Bonhomme.

“We’re really excited to be here and we know we’re going to have incredible support from the people down here,” Hefford, a native of Kingston, Ont., told the Telegram.

“The majority of provinces down east support events like this so well and are so friendly and welcoming.”

The tournament — which includes Team U.S.A., Sweden and Finland — doesn’t get underway until next Tuesday at Mile One Centre and the Clarenville Events Centre, so the squad will use next few days to get re-acquainted with another.

But in some cases, they’ll be getting acquainted for the first time as the team welcomes eight new players into their ranks. Four Team Canada members — Becky Kellar, Carla Macleod, Colleen Sostorics, Gina Kingsbury — closed out their national team careers following the Canadian’s gold-medal win in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

The new recruits were all members of an under-22 national team that swept an American side in a three-game series this August in Toronto.

The team has yet to hit the ice as a unit, but it doesn’t concern the veteran Hefford.

“The depth in our program is so great that everyone here has played internationally, whether it’s been under-18, under-22 or with the national team,” Hefford says.

“So we’ll take a couple of days to get to know each other a little better... in a few days we’ll be ready to go.”

Team Canada open the 4 Nations against Tuesday at Mile One against an American squad that has undergone a similar metamorphosis with new, young talent brought in.

“Much like our young players, they’re full of skill and talent,” Bonhomme says of the rival American team.

“It’s just a matter of which team comes together and plays their systems the best.”

While Sweden and Finland aren’t considered legitimate threats to take the 4 Nations title, Hefford stopped short of saying this is a two-team tournament.

“We don’t see each other very often, so in a matter of six or eight months, a lot can change. So we approach every game the same and I expect them to give us a game like they always do.”

Bonhomme adds, “we’re hoping Sweden show up and play the physical game they usually do and Finland play their face-paced, always on you, always in your face hockey.”

While Hefford has been to the province before — and already counts herself as an honourary Newfoundlander — the visit is the first for Bonhomme. She plans on doing some sightseeing and getting to know the culture during her stay.

“George Street, I’ve heard a a lot about that as well,” the Sudbury, Ont., native admitted.

“But we’re going to have to wait until the tournament’s over.”


Organizations: Team Canada, Clarenville Events Centre

Geographic location: Canada, Sweden, Finland Kingston Toronto George Street Sudbury

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Recent comments

  • Joan
    November 04, 2010 - 08:48

    Well I would like to welcome you all to our great province and I hope you enjoy your stay here and most of all play hard. Good Luck to all players and coaches.