BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – March 11, 2021 – Twenty-nine players with Western Collegiate Hockey Association Women's League ties are among the 46 players invited to USA Hockey's Women's National Team Evaluation Camp, the national governing body announced Thursday.
The camp, which will run from March 24-30, will take place at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn., and is part of the process that will identify the U.S. squad for the 2021 IIHF Women's World Championship. That event is slated for May 6-16 in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia.
"The WCHA is home to many of the greatest hockey players in the United States," WCHA Commissioner Jennifer Flowers said. "Representing our country is a tremendous honor and I'm excited for all of our invitees and want to wish them the best with this opportunity. We're also excited for the WCHA institutional staff members and former players who will participate in the camp or World Championship in coaching or support roles."
The initial U.S. camp roster includes four goaltenders, 16 defensemen and 26 forwards. The WCHA contingent that makes up 63 percent of that group features two goaltenders, nine defensemen and 18 forwards.
Six of the WCHA's seven schools are represented on the camp roster, led by Wisconsin's 11 invitees. Minnesota is next with 10 invitees followed by Minnesota Duluth (four), Ohio State (two), Bemidji State (one) and Minnesota State (one). Twelve of the 29 were members of the gold medal-winning U.S. squad at the 2019 IIHF World Championships while nine skated for the 2018 U.S. Olympic team that won gold in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Fourteen of the 29 invitees competed in the WCHA during the 2020-21 season – Bemidji State's Clair DeGeorge, Minnesota's Emily Brown, Taylor Heise, Abbey Murphy and Grace Zumwinkle, Minnesota Duluth's Gabbie Hughes and Anna Klein, Minnesota State's Anna Wilgren, Ohio State's Tatum Skaggs and Wisconsin's Grace Bowlby, Natalie Buchbinder, Britta Curl, Lacey Eden and Nicole LaMantia. Wisconsin signee Caroline Harvey is also among the 28 WCHA players in camp.
In addition to the 29 players, University of Minnesota assistant coach Joel Johnson is a member of the U.S. coaching staff and Minnesota Duluth director of hockey operations Nick Bryant is the U.S. team leader and director of hockey operations. Several other with WCHA ties will serve as support staff or camp staff, including Minnesota's Brent Proulx (equipment manager) and Cal Dietz (head human performance coach), Minnesota State head coach John Harrington (camp coach) and former Maverick player Alli Altmann (camp coach) and Wisconsin's Sis Paulson (equipment manager).
The United States will play its World Championship Group A preliminary round games at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax with host Canada, Finland, Russia and Switzerland. Group B, which features the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary and Japan, will play at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre in Truro. The top three Group B finishers will advance to the quarterfinals along with all five Group A teams. The tournament schedule will be released at a later date.
|WCHA USA Hockey National Team Evaluation Camp Invitees|
|Clair DeGeorge||F||Bemidji State||Anchorage, Alaska|
|Dani Cameranesi*^||F||Minnesota||Plymouth, Minn.|
|Emily Brown||D||Minnesota||Blaine, Minn.|
|Megan Bozek*||D||Minnesota||Buffalo Grove, Ill.|
|Hannah Brandt*^||F||Minnesota||Buffalo Grove, Ill.|
|Taylor Heise||F||Minnesota||Lake City, Minn.|
|Amanda Kessel*^||F||Minnesota||Madison, Wis.|
|Abbey Murphy||F||Minnesota||Evergreen Park, Ill.|
|Kelly Pannek*||F||Minnesota||Plymouth, Minn.|
|Lee Stecklein*^||D||Minnesota||Roseville, Minn.|
|Grace Zumwinkle||F||Minnesota||Excelsior, Minn.|
|Sydney Brodt*^||F||Minnesota Duluth||North Oaks, Minn.|
|Gabbie Hughes||F||Minnesota Duluth||Lino Lakes, Minn.|
|Anna Klein||F||Minnesota Duluth||Edina, Minn.|
|Maddie Rooney*^||G||Minnesota Duluth||Excelsior, Minn.|
|Anna Wilgren||D||Minnesota State||Hudson, Wis.|
|Jincy Dunne||D||Ohio State||O'Fallon, Mo.|
|Tatum Skaggs||F||Ohio State||Osonomwoc, Wis.|
|Grace Bowlby||D||Wisconsin||Edina, Minn.|
|Natalie Buchbinder||D||Wisconsin||Fairport, N.Y.|
|Alex Cavallini*^||G||Wisconsin||Delafield, Wis.|
|Britta Curl||F||Wisconsin||Bismarck, N.D.|
|Brianna Decker*^||F||Wisconsin||Dousman, Wis.|
|Lacey Eden||F||Wisconsin||Annapolis, Md.|
|Caroline Harvey#||D||Wisconsin||Pelham, N.H.|
|Hilary Knight*^||F||Wisconsin||Sun Valley, Idaho|
|Nicole LaMantia||D||Wisconsin||Wayne, Ill.|
|Annie Pankowski*||F||Wisconsin||Laguna Hills, Calif.|
|Abby Roque||F||Wisconsin||Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.|
*- 2019 World Championship gold medalist
^- 2018 Olympic gold medalist
#- 2021-22 Signee
About the Western Collegiate Hockey Association Women's League
The Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association is marking its 22nd season in 2020-21. The nation's premier women's hockey conference, WCHA member institutions have won a record 17 national championships since the league's inception in 1999 (including 16 of a possible 19 NCAA titles), while producing seven Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winners, 105 All-Americans and numerous Olympic and national team members. The seven-team, NCAA Division I conference consists of: Bemidji State University (Beavers), the University of Minnesota (Golden Gophers), the University of Minnesota Duluth (Bulldogs), Minnesota State University (Mavericks), The Ohio State University (Buckeyes), St. Cloud State University (Huskies) and the University of Wisconsin (Badgers). The WCHA will grow to eight members with the addition of the University of St. Thomas (Tommies) beginning with the 2021-22 season. For more information, visit wcha.com.