krista sylvester/for metro calgary
The future of Canadian women’s hockey will cut through ice in Calgary today.
Team Black — one of three Canadian Under-19 women teams — faces Team Japan in an exhibition game today at Father David Bauer Olympic Arena at 12:30 p.m., the first in a round-robin tournament continuing into the weekend.
The other teams in the tourney are Canada Team Red and Canada Team White.
In preparation for the tournament, more than 50 Canadian players — including Calgary’s Jacqueline Colborne — have skated hard all week at Father David and Norma Bush arenas.
Olympic hockey gold medallist and assistant coach of Team Black, Cassie Campbell, said the evaluation process is designed to help other countries like Japan to compete against teams like Canada.
“It’s a really good way to keep an eye on the rival teams and see how they are doing, but mainly it’s also a great way to help some of the teams that are not in the top-five improve,” Campbell told Metro after practice.
The evaluation camp is also designed to train former hockey stars, such as Campbell and Danielle Goyette, to develop their coaching skills.
“They’re teaching us how to run practices and drills, and I now have a new-found respect for coaches. I always knew they worked hard but I never really knew just hard they work. Coaches get up and work from seven in the morning until midnight or one in the morning.”
Team Black’s Colborne, 17, is one of only two Calgary players invited to the evaluation process.
“It’s really exciting and I've been learning a lot. No matter what happens after this, at the very least, I have learned and grown as a player and I’ve made a lot of great friends, too,” Colborne said after coming off the ice yesterday.
The bronze medal game is set for 9:10 a.m. at Father David, while the gold medal match follows at noon.