BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Dec. 23, 2017 – Nine players from the Women's League of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) are among the 23 chosen by Hockey Canada to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics, the organization announced yesterday (Friday, Dec. 22).
The nine WCHA-affiliated women, including one current student-athlete, that will wear the Canadian sweater in PyeongChang, South Korea next February represent three League member institutions and feature five that will make their Olympic debut. The nine are: University of Minnesota Duluth alumnae Haley Irwin (forward), Brigette Lacquette (defense) and Jocelyne Larocque (defense); former Ohio State University star Natalie Spooner (forward); and, current University of Wisconsin senior Emily Clark (forward), along with former Badgers greats Ann-Renée Desbiens (goaltender), Meaghan Mikkelson (defense), Sarah Nurse (forward) and Blayre Turnbull (defense).
"We are extremely proud and excited for these nine women who will live out their Olympic dreams, some for the first time," said WCHA Vice President and Women's League Commissioner Katie Million. "We send each of them our most heartfelt congratulations, and we look forward to watching them compete for Canada on the Olympic stage!"
The five set to make their Olympic debut are: Lacquette, a two-time All-WCHA performer who graduated from UMD in 2015; Clark, the youngest player on the team, who will return for her senior year at Wisconsin next fall after earning all-WCHA accolades in 2016-17; Desbiens, the 2017 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner who rewrote the WCHA and NCAA record books during her four seasons in Madison (and is the first UW netminder to earn a spot on a Hockey Canada Olympic roster); Nurse, a 2017 second-team All-American following her senior year with the Badgers; and, Turnbull, a two-time All-WCHA honoree who led UW to the 2015 WCHA Final Faceoff title.
Mikkelson, the elder stateswoman of the 2018 squad, and Irwin are both two-time Olympic gold medalists, ascending to the top of the podium with Canada at the 2010 and 2014 Winter Games. Spooner and Larocque are back for their second run at Olympic glory, having won gold in Sochi four years ago.
Canada's 2018 Women's Olympic Hockey Team will begin pursuit of the country's fifth-straight Olympic gold medal with its PyeongChang opener, set for Sunday, Feb. 11 against Russia at the Kwandong Hockey Centre.
For more information, visit www.hockeycanada.ca.