Editor's note: a big welcome to Amy Attas who will be joining our hockey coverage at Victory Press! We assigned her the Team Canada preview, as a treat.
2018 Olympic finish
Silver. After literal decades of Canada winning every Olympics and Team USA winning the majority of IIHF Championships, Canada lost to the USA in a shootout in the Pyeongchang final. They had plenty of chances to win it, too, heading into the third with the lead, and squandering a rare overtime power play. Canada was clearly still licking their wounds a year later, when they fell to Finland in the semi-finals of the 2019 Worlds and brought home the bronze.
2021 IIHF Women's World Championship finish
Gold. After an extended hiatus due to the pandemic, Canada dominated at the 2021 Worlds. They defeated Team USA in both the prelims and the final, allowing only seven goals in as many games. Canada also won four of six games against the US through the Rivalry Series in 2021.
IIHF World Ranking
2nd overall. Team USA's dominance over the years at Worlds keeps Canada in second place this time around even though they won the tournament in 2021.
Emily Clark, Mélodie Daoust, Sarah Fillier, Brianne Jenner, Rebecca Johnston, Emma Maltais, Sarah Nurse, Marie-Philip Poulin, Jamie Lee Rattray, Jill Saulnier, Natalie Spooner, Laura Stacey, Blayre Turnbull
Erin Ambrose, Ashton Bell, Renata Fast, Jocelyne Larocque, Ella Shelton, Claire Thompson, Micah Zandee-Hart
Kristen Campbell, Ann-Renée Desbiens, Emerance Maschmeyer
Desbiens was Canada's starter at the 2021 IIHF Worlds, and is expected to start in Beijing. Campbell has the best Twitter handle (@Soupy_35).
Troy Ryan. Ryan has been Team Canada's head coach since 2019; he was an assistant coach at the 2018 Olympics and the 2019 Worlds.
Keep an eye on
Fillier is Canada's young sniper, who had a great debut at the 2021 Worlds and has continued to perform well in international competition. Will she continue her quick ascent, or will the Olympic rings be too much pressure? Captain Poulin has a talent for scoring last-minute game-winners on the biggest stage, so expect her to be clutch in Beijing again. Daoust was MVP of the 2021 Worlds. Larocque has been solid on the blue line for over a decade and should anchor a group of mostly younger defenders. Jamie Lee Rattray also had a bit of a breakout performance at the 2021 Worlds and could be a key contributor in Beijing.
After a few shaky years (2018 Olympic silver, 2019 IIHF World's bronze) Canada's program has cinched up the slack and plays with a nice mix of youth and veteran talent. Some have questioned the team's scoring depth and there are a few young defenders who've yet to face an Olympic test, so if the team crumbles it will likely be along those fault lines. But this is a team stacked with game-changing players, and anything less than Olympic gold will be considered a failure, assuming the team stays healthy and COVID-free. Expect a Canada-USA final, and hopefully a gritty, highlight-reel final that goes down to the wire.