Kevin Dineen

Hayley Wickenheiser

Canada names women’s Olympic hockey team

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As expected, the Canadian women’s Olympic hockey team will be older than the U.S. roster.

Hockey Canada announced its final three cuts and the official 21-woman team for Sochi on Monday.

It’s led by six-time Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser, largely regarded as the greatest player in women’s hockey history. Wickenheiser, 35, has won three Olympic gold medals, one silver and competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics for Canada in softball.

She’s also the all-time leading scorer in Olympic women’s hockey history and one of two women’s players in EA Sports’ NHL 13 video game (the other is retired American Angela Ruggiero).

Canada has won the last three Olympic golds and took silver to the U.S. in the first Olympic women’s hockey tournament in 1998. The U.S. is the reigning world champion and has won two straight games over Canada this fall after Canadian coach Dan Church resigned.

Former NHL player Kevin Dineen now coaches Canada and would be the first male Olympic coach for the women’s hockey team. The U.S. is coached by Katey Stone, who would be the first women’s coach for the U.S. Olympic Team.

The average Canadian women’s Olympic hockey player age is 26 years old. The U.S.’ average age will be about 24 once it makes its final cuts and names its team on Jan. 1.

The Canadian roster includes 12 Olympians from 2010, six Olympians from 2006, three Olympians from 2002 and two Olympians from 1998.

The U.S. roster will include a maximum of 12 Olympians from 2010, one from 2006, one from 2002 and none from 1998.

Here’s the full Canadian roster:

Goalies
Shannon Szabados — 2010 Olympian (shut out U.S. in 2010 Olympic gold-medal game)
Charline Labonte — 2006, 2010 Olympian
Genevieve Lacasse

Defensemen
Meaghan Mikkelson — 2010 Olympian
Catherine Ward — 2010 Olympian
Laura Fortino
Jocelyne Larocque
Lauriane Rougeau
Tara Watchorn

Forwards
Hayley Wickenheiser — 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 Olympian
Jayna Hefford — 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010 Olympian
Caroline Ouellette — 2002, 2006, 2010 Olympian
Meghan Agosta-Marciano — 2006, 2010 Olympian
Gillian Apps — 2006, 2010 Olympian
Marie-Philip Poulin — 2010 Olympian (scored both 2010 Olympic gold-medal game goals)
Haley Irwin — 2010 Olympian
Rebecca Johnston — 2010 Olympian
Melodia Daoust
Brianne Jenner
Natalie Spooner
Jennifer Wakefield

Video: U.S., Canada brawl in exhibition

Kevin Dineen hired as Canada women’s hockey coach

Kevin Dineen
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Hockey Canada turned to former NHL coach and player Kevin Dineen to coach it’s women’s hockey team, less than a week after Dan Church resigned the post.

Dineen, 50, coached the Florida Panthers from 2011-13. He played 19 NHL season among five teams. He is a Quebec native and a 1984 Winter Olympian.

“We’re very excited that Kevin will join the coaching staff of Canada’s National Women’s Team and bring his unique perspective to the dressing room,” said Hockey Canada COO Scott Smith, according to Hockey Canada. “Kevin has had success in both the AHL and NHL, and we’re looking forward to him being a part of the staff for the final push towards Sochi.”

The Canadian women are considered co-favorites with the U.S. for gold at the Sochi Olympics. Canada has won the last three Olympic titles, but the U.S. beat Canada in Ottawa for the World Championship in April.

Canada beat the U.S. three straight times to open their fall/winter pre-Olympic series. Church resigned Thursday, hours before their fourth game, saying he felt others lacked confidence in his coaching ability but not going into more detail.

Dineen is the first man to coach the Canadian women’s Olympic team, following Shannon Miller in 1998, Daniele Sauvageau in 2002 and Melody Davidson in 2006 and 2010.

“This is a critical time for Canada’s National Women’s Team with the start of the Olympics less than two months away, and we feel Kevin is a terrific fit with our staff as we get ready for Sochi,” said Davidson, who is now a Hockey Canada general manager. “His experience, both on the ice and behind the bench, will be invaluable over the coming weeks.”

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