Cammi Granato

U.S., Canada women’s hockey teams bring vets to 3-on-3 throwdown on NHL All-Star weekend

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While 3-on-3 hockey is an unusual event, the demonstration game on the NHL’s All-Star weekend will have a familiar look to anyone who has seen women’s hockey in the Olympics or world championships.

The U.S. and Canadian women, who have faced off in 18 of the 19 world championship finals to date and five of the six Olympic finals, will bring heavily experienced teams to the 3-on-3 matchup, which will be broadcast live along with the All-Star skills competitions at 8 p.m. ET Jan. 24 on NBCSN.

One woman from each side will also be part of NHL Shooting Stars event, in which players will shoot at targets on the ice from a 30-foot platform behind one goal. The women’s players, who will compete against eight NHL players in this individual event, will be selected by social media vote.

The only players on either roster who were not on their teams’ 2018 Olympic rosters are U.S. players Alex Carpenter and Annie Pankowski. Carpenter played in the 2014 Olympics and on five gold medal-winning world championship teams. Pankowski is the only player without Olympic experience, but she has played in three world championships.

READ: U.S. wins 2018 Olympic gold

Most of the players in the 3-on-3 game have also faced each other in the first two games of a five-game Rivalry Series that started last month and wraps in February. The exceptions are Brianna Decker and Jocelyn Lamoureux-Davidson, each of whom was a fixture on the roster through the 2010s.

The U.S. won both of last month’s games. On Dec. 14 in Hartford, Conn., Carpenter and Amanda Kessel each had a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win, with goaltender Alex Rigsby Cavallini named player of the game. All three players are on the 3-on-3 roster.

Three days later in Moncton, New Brunswick, the U.S. took a 2-1 win, with Kessel picking up an assist on Carpenter’s game-winning goal.

Six college players made their national team debuts in the series’ first two games. Abby Roque scored in each game, and Aerin Frankel won her debut in goal in the close game in Moncton.

The two coaches are also veteran players, each of whom now holds an NHL job. The U.S. coach is Cammi Granato, a mainstay of the U.S. team in the 1990s and early 2000s who has been named as a scout for Seattle’s NHL expansion team. Four-time Olympic champion Jayna Hefford will coach Canada.

Canada was nearly unbeatable in the first 15 years of international competition, losing to the U.S. in the inaugural Olympic final in 1998 but winning every world championship until 2005. Since then, the balance of power has swung to the U.S., which has won eight of the last nine world championships and the 2018 Olympics.

The 3-on-3 game will have two 10-minute periods with a running clock. All penalties will result in a penalty shot, awarded to the player who was fouled.

United States roster

  • D Kacey Bellamy 
  • F Alex Carpenter 
  • F Kendall Coyne Schofield 
  • F Brianna Decker 
  • F Amanda Kessel 
  • F Hilary Knight 
  • F Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson 
  • F Annie Pankowski 
  • G Alex Rigsby Cavallini 
  • D Lee Stecklein 

Coach: Cammi Granato

Canadian roster

  • F Meghan Agosta
  • F Mélodie Daoust
  • G Ann-Renée Desbiens 
  • D Renata Fast
  • D Laura Fortino
  • F Rebecca Johnston
  • F Sarah Nurse
  • F Marie-Philip Poulin 
  • F Natalie Spooner
  • F Blayre Turnbull

Coach: Jayna Hefford

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Cammi Granato becomes NHL’s first female pro scout

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Cammi Granato, captain of the 1998 U.S. Olympic champion hockey team, is the NHL’s first female pro scout. She was hired by the league’s new Seattle franchise, which begins play in the 2021-22 season.

“I’ve had other NHL opportunities to get back into hockey,” Granato said, according to NHL.com. “Seattle is the right fit for me.”

Granato, 48 and a Hockey Hall of Famer, led the Americans to gold at the first Olympic women’s hockey tournament in 1998. She also played for the silver-medal team at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

Granato also played a role in the U.S.’ run to its second Olympic women’s hockey title in PyeongChang. She spoke in person to the national team in summer 2017, her first time doing so since her retirement.

From her home in Vancouver, Granato video conferenced with the team between the semifinal and final in PyeongChang. The U.S. then beat rival Canada for gold in a shootout.

Granato, who grew up dreaming of playing for the Chicago Blackhawks, saw Seattle as a good fit as she lives just across the border. She and husband Ray Ferraro (a former NHL player, now an analyst) have 9- and 12-year-old boys.

“When they were little it just wasn’t feasible to leave, when they have one parent on the road,” Granato said, according to ESPN.com. “Now they’re getting to an age where they’re a little older and settled, so this opportunity when it came around was a perfect fit for me and for our family. I didn’t feel like I was compromising anything by saying yes.”

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How Cammi Granato changed Hilary Knight’s life

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Many hockey players choose jersey numbers as homages.

Hilary Knight wears No. 21 in tribute to her favorite player and inspiration to play hockey at a high level — 1998 Olympic captain Cammi Granato. Knight also has the number tattooed on her arm.

They are the only U.S. women to wear No. 21 at the Olympics.

Knight, arguably the world’s best female hockey player, has a stick autographed by Granato from when she attended a youth camp.

This past summer, Granato spoke in person to the U.S. women’s national team for the first time. Knight had Granato sign her journal.

“So I have to hold it pretty closely now,” said Knight, the world championship MVP in 2015 and 2016 who scored the 2017 worlds golden goal in the final against Canada.

Knight, going to her third Olympics, is a leader on a U.S. roster seeking the nation’s first gold since the Granato-led team at the first Olympic women’s hockey tournament in 1998.

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