Canadian women’s hockey coach admits captain decision wasn’t easy

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Hayley Wickenheiser is considered one of – if not the – greatest women’s hockey players ever, so handing Canada’s Olympic captaincy from her to Caroline Ouelette isn’t an easy decision. But new Canadian women’s head coach Kevin Dineen made it.

That doesn’t mean it was a particularly pleasant process or well-received choice, though, as Dineen told NBCOlympics.com.

“My feeling was, with the dynamics of this team, that Caroline was an excellent choice,” Dineen said. “Not an easy decision. Not very fun for Hayley, but it’s a decision I made and we’ve moved forward from that.”

Dineen admitted that Wickenheiser didn’t take it “great.” (The bright side for Wickenheiser, 35, is that she’ll be a flag bearer for Canada.)

It’s a bold move for Dineen, who just took over Canada’s women’s coaching gig in December after being fired by the NHL’s Florida Panthers in November.

Canada hopes to win a fourth consecutive gold medal at Sochi, but the U.S. team has been giving them all they can handle lately, beating them in their last four exhibition matches (including Dineen’s coaching debut).

They begin their Olympic tournament schedule with a game against Switzerland on Saturday.