The National Women's Hockey League continues its offseason with numerous player signings, its first international draft and several front office moves. In case you've missed anything over the last few weeks, let's take a look at what's happened in the league.
The Four Nations Cup is often an experimental time for the teams who participate, but even more so this year. The annual tournament, which takes place outside of regular IIHF international play, takes place early in November and is a good time for programs to test things out (young players, different coaches, new lines). With another Olympic cycle in the rearview, every team participating in Four Nations has made some major changes over the summer and we'll get the first look at them starting on Tuesday when the tournament kicks off in Saskatoon.
|7||Susanna Tapani||F||L||3/2/93||Laitila, FIN||TPS Turku (FIN)|
|9||Venla Hovi||F||L||10/28/87||Tampere, FIN||Calgary (CWHL)|
|11||Annina Rajahuhta||F||L||3/8/89||Helsinki, FIN||Espoo Blues (FIN)|
|12||Elisa Holopainen||F||L||12/27/01||Tuusniemi, FIN||KalPa Kuopio (FIN)|
|13||Riikka Välilä||F||R||6/12/73||Jyväskylä, FIN||HV71 (SWE)|
|18||Petra Nieminen||F||L||5/4/99||Tampere, FIN||Luleå HF (SWE)|
|19||Tanja Niskanen||F||L||9/11/92||Juankoski, FIN||KalPa Kuopio (FIN)|
|20||Matilda Nilsson||F||R||3/2/97||Espoo, FIN||KalPa Kuopio (FIN)|
|22||Emma Nuutinen||F||L||12/7/96||Helsinki, FIN||Mercyhurst University (CHA)|
|23||Sanni Hakala||F||L||10/31/97||Jyväskylä, FIN||HV71 (SWE)|
|24||Noora Tulus||F||R||8/15/95||Vantaa, FIN||Luleå HF (SWE)|
|27||Viivi Vainikka||F||L||12/23/01||Espoo, FIN||Team Kuortane (FIN)|
|33||Michelle Karvinen||F||L||3/27/90||Rödovre, DEN||Luleå HF (SWE)|
|2||Isa Rahunen||D||L||4/16/93||Kuopio, FIN||Kärpät Oulu (FIN)|
|4||Rosa Lindstedt||D||L||1/24/88||Ylöjärvi, FIN||HV71 (SWE)|
|6||Jenni Hiirikoski||D||L||3/30/87||Lempäälä, FIN||Luleå HF (SWE)|
|8||Ronja Savolainen||D||L||11/29/97||Helsinki, FIN||Luleå HF (SWE)|
|14||Nelli Laitinen||D||L||4/29/02||Lohja, FIN||Espoo Blues (FIN)|
|15||Minnamari Tuominen||D||R||6/26/90||Helsinki, FIN||Espoo Blues (FIN)|
|28||Ella Viitasuo||D||L||5/27/96||Lahti, FIN||Espoo Blues (FIN)|
|1||Eveliina Suonpää||G||L||4/12/95||Kiukainen, FIN||Linköping HC (SWE)|
|30||Jenna Silvonen||G||L||1/2/99||Lohja, FIN||Espoo Blues (FIN)|
|31||Noora Räty||G||L||5/2/89||Espoo, FIN||KRS Shenzhen (CWHL)|
Finland has probably seen the least overhaul at the administrative and coaching level. Pasi Mustonen has been head coach of the program since 2014 and has been part of the team becoming a consistent and growing threat to Team USA and Team Canada on the international stage. There are lots of familiar names on this roster, including the unbreakable Riikka Välilä; veteran D Jenni Hiirikoski; and forward Venla Hovi who has played this season with the Calgary Inferno. Mercyhurst's Emma Nuutinen is the only NCAA player, and most others are playing professionally in either the Finnish or Swedish pro leagues.
- Goalies: Noora Räty is still the veteran #1 in net, and this tournament she'll be joined by Eveliina Suonpää and Jenna Silvonen, who are 23 and 19 respectively. Meeri Räisänen's absence from this roster means that they might get some more playing time at the senior level. It'll be interesting to see who gets the start and when.
- Special teams and hanging in for 60 minutes: Finland has held Team USA and Team Canada to extremely close games in recent memory; the key to coming out on top could be nailing down an effective power play and also making sure they don't run out of gas against the Americans and Canadians. Finland has historically started really strong against both squads before letting the offensive dam break for their opponents later on.
- Offensive firepower complemented by strong forecheck: Count on forwards Nuutinen and Michelle Karvinen for some pretty goals once Finland starts cycling in the offensive zone.
|11||Nathalie Ferno||F||R||7/18/96||Mellösa, SWE||Luleå HF (SWE)|
|14||Sabina Kuller||F||R||9/22/94||Norrtälje, SWE||AIK (SWE)|
|15||Lisa Johansson||F||R||4/11/92||Nybro, SWE||AIK (SWE)|
|16||Pernilla Winberg||F||R||2/24/89||Limhamn, SWE||Linköping HC (SWE)|
|19||Sara Hjalmarsson||F||L||2/8/98||Bankeryd, SWE||Providence College (HE)|
|20||Fanny Rask||F||L||5/21/91||Leksand, SWE||HV71 (SWE)|
|21||Isabell Palm||F||L||10/13/95||Skellefteå, SWE||HV71 (SWE)|
|22||Lina Ljungblom||F||L||10/15/01||Skövde, SWE||Skövde HC (SWE)|
|24||Erika Grahm||F||L||1/26/91||Kramfors, SWE||Brynäs IF (SWE)|
|25||Celine Tedenby||F||L||6/15/99||Örnsköldsvik, SWE||University of Maine (HE)|
|26||Hanna Olsson||F||L||1/20/99||Hälsö, SWE||Djurgårdens IF (SWE)|
|27||Emma Nordin||F||L||3/22/91||Örnsköldsvik, SWE||Luleå HF (SWE)|
|29||Olivia Carlsson||F||L||3/2/95||Karlstad, SWE||MODO Hockey (SWE)|
|4||Sofia Engström||D||L||7/3/88||Surahammar, SWE||Leksands IF (SWE)|
|5||Johanna Fällman||D||L||6/21/90||Luleå, SWE||Luleå HF (SWE)|
|6||Josefine Holmgren||D||L||4/11/93||Skutskär, SWE||Djurgårdens IF (SWE)|
|7||Mina Waxin||D||L||4/29/01||Stockholm, SWE||MODO Hockey (SWE)|
|9||Jessica Adolfsson||D||L||7/15/98||Linköping, SWE||Penn State University (CHA)|
|12||Maja Nylen-Persson||D||R||11/20/00||Avesta, SWE||Leksands IF (SWE)|
|17||Ebba Berglund||D||L||8/13/98||Örnsköldsvik, SWE||Luleå HF (SWE)|
|1||Lovisa Selander||G||L||3/14/96||Stockholm, SWE||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (ECAC)|
|30||Emma Söderberg||G||L||2/18/98||Örnsköldsvik, SWE||University of Minnesota Duluth (WCHA)|
|35||Maria Omberg||G||L||1/18/95||Luleå, SWE||Luleå HF (SWE)|
Sweden named a new head coach in Ylva Martinsen this August, and a cursory glance at her long history with the program (over 100 games played internationally as a defender in the Olympics, World Championships, and other international tournaments) indicates that she may well be the best possible person to bring Tre Kronor forward. She has coached the Swedish U18 team to several medals in recent years, including a silver at the U18 Worlds in 2018. Martinsen inherits a program that was previously coached by Leif Boork and marred by poor relationships with players and a lackluster international record. This new look for Sweden is exciting and feels like a natural progression for the squad.
- Lina Ljungblom, Celine Tedenby, Hanna Olsson: Three forwards on the team who are under 20 (Ljungblom is just 17), and who have all shown scoring touches in the SDHL. Olsson was on the senior Olympic team this past year, too. All three have played under Martinsen recently as Under-18s. These three may well be the long-term future of the program.
- No Sara Grahn: One of the best international goalies who posted a 0.948 save percentage in the last Olympics won't be in this tournament; instead, we'll get a look at RPI senior Lovisa Selander, UMD freshman Emma Söderberg, and Luleå's Maria Omberg. None have ever played in this tournament, or a World Championship, before for the senior team.
- Matchups and lines: With so many new players on this squad and a new coach, it will be interesting to see how Martinsen manages line changes and deploys players. Keep an eye on which defenders she matches up against the best US and Canadian lines.
|Hannah Brandt||F||R||11/27/93||Vadnais Heights, Minn.||Minnesota (NWHL)|
|Sydney Brodt||F||R||5/3/98||North Oaks, Minn.||U. of Minnesota Duluth (WCHA)|
|Dani Cameranesi||F||L||6/30/95||Plymouth, Minn.||Buffalo (NWHL)|
|Kendall Coyne||F||L||5/25/92||Palos Heights, Ill.||Minnesota (NWHL)|
|Brianna Decker||F||R||5/13/91||Dousman, Wis||Calgary (CWHL)|
|Amanda Kessel||F||R||8/28/91||Madison, Wis||Metropolitan (NWHL)|
|Hilary Knight||F||R||7/12/89||Sun Valley, Idaho||Montreal (CWHL)|
|Caitrin Lonergan||F||R||9/10/97||Roslindale, Mass.||Boston College (HE)|
|Gigi Marvin||F||R||3/7/87||Warroad, Minn.||Boston (NWHL)|
|Annie Pankowski||F||R||11/4/94||Laguna Hills, Calif.||U. of Wisconsin (WCHA)|
|Kelly Pannek||F||R||12/29/95||Plymouth, Minn.||U. of Minnesota (WCHA)|
|Melissa Samoskevich||F||R||3/31/97||Sandy Hook, Conn.||Quinnipiac U. (ECAC)|
|Cayla Barnes||D||R||1/7/99||Eastvale, Calif.||Boston College (HE)|
|Kacey Bellamy||D||L||4/22/87||Westfield, Mass.||Calgary (CWHL)|
|Megan Bozek||D||R||7/23/91||Buffalo Grove, Ill.||Markham (CWHL)|
|Kali Flanagan||D||R||9/19/95||Hudson, N.H.||Boston College (HE)|
|Mikaela Gardner||D||R||2/10/97||Plainfield, Ill.||U. of Wisconsin (WCHA)|
|Megan Keller||D||L||5/1/96||Farmington Hills, Mich.||Boston College (HE)|
|Sidney Morin||D||R||6/6/95||Minnetonka, Minn.||Linköping HC (SWE)|
|Emily Pfalzer||D||R||6/14/93||Buffalo, N.Y.||Buffalo (NWHL)|
|Emma Polusny||G||L||3/16/99||Mound, Minn.||St. Cloud State U. (WCHA)|
|Alex Rigsby||G||L||1/3/92||Delafield, Wis||Calgary (CWHL)|
|Maddie Rooney||G||L||7/7/97||Andover, Minn.||U. of Minnesota Duluth (WCHA)|
Team USA is in a weird position. They are fresh from an Olympic gold medal, which normally would speak to program success, but the fashion in which they won gold could hardly be called dominant and USA Hockey has cleaned house in its women's program. They have cut ties with Robb Stauber, who coached the team to gold (and is also apparently a fascist); and Reagan Carey, director of women's hockey since 2010, just stepped down on October 28th, leaving her position vacant.
Bob Corkum was named the new head coach of the team. The former NHL player has never held a head coaching position before. Some players who were surprise cuts from the Olympic squad are back, including Megan Bozek and Annie Pankowski. Veterans who have been mainstays on the roster are absent, including five-time captain Meghan Duggan and Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson (the latter two are both starting families). In some ways it's a return to form for Team USA; but in other ways it's uncharted territory.
- Newbies: Goalie Emma Polusny; defender Mikaela Gardner; and forwards Melissa Samoskevich, Sydney Brodt, and Caitrin Longeran will all make their senior team debuts.
- Five aside: Team USA hasn't played a good period of 5 on 5 hockey against Team Canada in quite some time, instead relying on individual efforts to make or break big games. It'll be interesting to see how the two teams skate together at even strength. Their games against Finland and Sweden will also be important litmus tests to see how the overwhelming talent of this roster is gelling with their basic systems in place.
|6||Rebecca Johnston||F||L||9/24/89||Sudbury, Ont.||Calgary (CWHL)|
|7||Laura Stacey||F||R||5/5/94||Kleinburg, Ont.||Markham (CWHL)|
|10||Sarah Fillier||F||R||6/9/00||Georgetown, Ont.||Princeton University (ECAC)|
|11||Jillian Saulnier||F||L||3/7/92||Halifax, N.S.||Montreal (CWHL)|
|15||Mélodie Daoust||F||L||1/7/92||Valleyfield, Que.||Montreal (CWHL)|
|19||Brianne Jenner||F||R||5/4/91||Oakville, Ont.||Calgary (CWHL)|
|20||Sarah Nurse||F||L||1/4/95||Hamilton, Ont.||Toronto (CWHL)|
|24||Natalie Spooner||F||R||10/17/90||Scarborough, Ont.||Toronto (CWHL)|
|29||Marie-Philip Poulin||F||L||3/28/91||Beauceville, Que.||Montreal (CWHL)|
|36||Loren Gabel||F||L||7/24/97||Kitchener, Ont.||Clarkson University (ECAC)|
|40||Blayre Turnbull||F||R||7/15/93||Stellarton, N.S.||Calgary (CWHL)|
|43||Kristin O'Neill||F||L||3/30/98||Oakville, Ont.||Cornell University (ECAC)|
|47||Jamie Lee Rattray||F||L||9/30/92||Kanata, Ont.||Markham (CWHL)|
|51||Victoria Bach||F||L||7/12/96||Milton, Ont.||Markham (CWHL)|
|3||Jocelyne Larocque||D||L||5/19/88||Ste. Anne, Man.||Markham (CWHL)|
|8||Laura Fortino||D||L||1/30/91||Hamilton, Ont.||Markham (CWHL)|
|14||Renata Fast||D||R||10/6/94||Burlington, Ont.||Toronto (CWHL)|
|18||Halli Krzyzaniak||D||R||2/4/95||Neepawa, Man.||Calgary (CWHL)|
|25||Jaime Bourbonnais||D||R||9/9/98||Mississauga, Ont.||Cornell University (ECAC)|
|28||Micah Zandee-Hart||D||L||1/13/97||Saanichton, B.C.||Cornell University (ECAC)|
|45||Katelyn Gosling||D||L||5/10/93||London, Ont.||Calgary (CWHL)|
|1||Shannon Szabados||G||L||8/6/86||Edmonton, Alta.||Buffalo (NWHL)|
|30||Shea Tiley||G||L||12/2/96||Shallow Lake, Ont.||Toronto (CWHL)|
|38||Emerance Maschmeyer||G||L||5/10/94||Bruderheim, Alta.||Montreal (CWHL)|
Perry Pearn will serve as head coach of the squad at Four Nations. The longtime assistant coach at the NHL level is also a newcomer to the women's game and last coached internationally for the Canadian World Junior squad in the early 90's; he'll be joined by Caroline Ouellette in an assistant coaching position as well as Doug Derraugh and Troy Ryan. Gina Kingsbury is still at the helm of the women's national team programs. The team seems to be on-track, with some very exciting young players getting a look on this new roster.
- Old and new: Every best-in-the-world veteran on this roster has a younger player behind her looking to take up the mantle. In net, Shea Tiley is making her debut at the senior level behind Emerance Maschmeyer and Shannon Szabados. Natalie Spooner and Marie-Philip Poulin are now the old guard to a stunning group of younger forwards, including Victoria Bach, Loren Gable, and Sarah Nurse.
- Defense: In the past, the team has sometimes had a tendency towards sudden, surprising defensive lapses despite being such a strong and talented group of players–this is, in fact, what cost them the gold medal in 2018. Being able to avoid these lapses, and bad penalties, will be necessary if Canada wants to reclaim the top spot in the world.
Four Nations Full Schedule
How to watch: HockeyTV will be streaming every game. Just create a free account, log in, and use the Four Nations event page to find a stream. The medal games and one of Canada's prelim games will air live on TSN (indicated below).
Every game will be played at the SaskTel Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. As always, the tournament is a round robin format, where each team plays each other team once, followed by a bronze medal game and a gold medal game with participants determined by seeding based on round robin play.
Tuesday November 6
- Finland vs. USA - 12:00 PM Central / 1:00 PM Eastern
- Canada vs. Sweden - 7:00 PM Central / 8:00 PM Eastern
Wednesday November 7
- Sweden vs. Finland - 3:00 PM Central / 4:00 PM Eastern
- USA vs. Canada - 7:00 PM Central / 8:00 PM Eastern
Friday November 9
- Sweden vs. USA - 3:00 PM Central / 4:00 PM Eastern
- Finland vs. Canada - 7:30 PM central / 8:30 PM Eastern (live on TSN1)
Saturday November 10
- Bronze medal game - 3:00 PM Central / 4:00 PM Eastern (live on TSN3)
- Gold medal game - 8:00 PM Central / 4:00 PM Eastern (live on TSN1)
- We love Gabriella Fundaro's At Even Strength, and she will be in Saskatoon for the tournament. Follow her at @gabfun and read her work at AES!
Filed under: four nations cup; 2018 four nations cup; ice hockey; team usa; team canada; team finland; team sweden
We are entirely reader supported. Consider supporting this work on PATREON or making a secure, one-time donation via PAYPAL.