Local players from Burlington, Oakville lead Canada into women’s world hockey championships
Published August 19, 2021 at 3:30 pm
For Oakville’s Brianne Jenner, all that matters is that the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championship is finally here.
The puck will drop on the women’s hockey worlds next Friday in Calgary, making it 859 days since the last one.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 world championship in Halifax and Turo, N.S. last April and then again in May of 2021.
For Jenner, who is one of six local players on the national team, she’s just anxious to get things going.
“We’re getting used to, on the team, just adapting to whatever comes at us,” the 30-year-old Canadian forward Brianne told the Canadian Press. “I know it sounds like that cookie-cutter answer, but we’re honestly just so excited to compete.”
Halton Region will be well represented at worlds with five forwards and a defenceman suiting up on the 25-woman roster.
Joining Jenner are Oakville’s Kristin O’Neill, Renata Fast and Emma Maltais from Burlington, Sarah Fuller of Georgetown and Victoria Bach from Milton.
Canada, which hasn’t won gold since 2012, will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing bronze-medal finish at the 2019 tournament. A semifinal loss to Finland marked the first time the country didn’t play for a gold medal in the 29-year history of the tournament.
The United States are the defending champions after beating Finland in a shootout in the gold medal game.
Canada will play in Pool A along with the United States, Finland, Russia and Switzerland in the 10-team world championship. Pool B consists of the Czech Republic, Japan, Germany, Hungary and Denmark.
Jenner leads a strong mix of veteran forwards. A member of that 2012 gold-medal winning Canadian squad, the five-foot-nine forward also helped Canada win silver at the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship in Plymouth, Mich.
Fuller, 21, who plays with Princeton University in the ECAC, is one of the younger team members. The five-foot-four forward helped Ontario Red win gold at the 2016 National Women’s Under-18 championship in Regina, Sask.
O’Neill, 23, made her debut with the women’s national team at the 2018 4 Nations Cup.
The five-foot-four forward was a captain at Cornell University, where she was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2017 and led the Big Red with 25 goals in her senior year in 2019-20.
Maltais, 21, won a silver medal with the Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 team at the 2016 IIHF U18 Women’s World Championships in St. Catharines.
The five-foot-three forward graduated from Burlington’s Nelson High School where she helped lead the field hockey team to a bronze medal.
Back, 25, plays in the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association. The five-foot-four forward is a graduate of Boston University where she was the first player in the Terriers’ women’s hockey program to score more than 100 goals.
Fast, 26, an honour roll student at Burlington’s M.M. Robinson High School, helped Canada win a silver medal at the 2017 Nations Cup in Füssen, Germany and Telfs, Austria.
The five-foot-seven defenceman also won a silver medal with Canada’s National Women’s Team at the 2015 4 Nations Cup in Sundsvall, Sweden.
Canada’s return to the ice is a long-time coming for Jenner.
“It feels like a lifetime ago,” Jenner said of Canada’s bronze-medal finish at the last world championship. “Anything pre-pandemic does feel like a different world, different reality.”
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