April 25th, 2024

2024 women’s world hockey championship team by team

By Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press on April 2, 2024.

UTICA, N.Y. – A capsule look at the 10-country field for the 2024 women’s world hockey championship April 3-14 in Utica, N.Y. (listed accorded to tournament seeding).

United States

Eighteen players return from the 2023 edition that doubled Canada 6-3 in last year’s final in Brampton, Ont., including tournament leading goal scorer Hilary Knight, assists leader Taylor Heise and points leader Caroline Harvey. Knight is the tournament’s all time points (101) and goals leader (61). Kendall Coyne Schofield returns from maternity leave.

Canada

Princeton’s Sarah Fillier was the 2023 tournament’s MVP with seven goals and four assists in seven games. Canada leans heavily on its battle-tested core of Marie Philip-Poulin, Brianne Jenner, Sarah Nurse, Natalie Spooner and goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens. Cousins Julia and Nicole Gosling of London, Ont., make their world championship debut together.

Czechia

Back-to-back bronze medallists coached to both by Canada’s Carla MacLeod. Outside of Canada and the U.S., the Czechs have the largest representation in the PWHL with four players, including three who play for MacLeod in Ottawa. Katerina Mrazova is Ottawa’s leading scorer with six goals and 11 assists in 19 games.

Switzerland

Alina Muller is the lone Swiss player in the PWHL. She was a coveted get by Boston, who made the 24-year-old forward its first pick (third overall) in the draft. Lara Stalder led the Swiss in points last year in Brampton with four goals and seven assists in seven games. The Swiss lost the bronze-medal game 3-2 to the Czechs.

Finland

Defender and captain Jenni Hiirikoski will extend her record for world championship appearances to 16. The 36-year-old will also add to the record for career games played (89). Petra Nieminen ranked second to Harvey in scoring in Brampton with six goals and seven assists in seven games. Forward Susanna Tapani was involved in the first ever PWHL trade Feb. 11 when Boston acquired her from Minnesota.

Sweden

Canada needed Nurse’s overtime goal to get by the Swedes in a quarterfinal last year. Goaltender Emma Soderberg, who made 51 saves in that game, plays for PWHL Boston. Sweden recently surpassed its stated goal of getting more than 10,000 women and girls registered in hockey, which represents a 43 per cent increase since 2021.

Japan

Reaching the 2022 quarterfinals and beating Finland for fifth place was the gift that kept on giving in terms of tournament seeding and avoiding the relegation games in 2023. Ottawa’s Akane Shiga is Japan’s lone PWHL player. Haruka Toko led Japan in Brampton with two goals and two assists in six games.

Germany

Strength is defence. Ranked fourth in both goals-against and penalty kill last year in Brampton. Goaltender Sandra Abstreiter is the lone PWHL player. She’s Ottawa’s backup behind Canada’s Emerance Maschmeyer. Twin sisters Lilli and Luisa Welcke are coached by former Canadian women’s hockey team defender Tara Watchorn at Boston University.

Denmark

The host Danes were relegated when their country hosted the women’s world championship for the first time in 2022. They’ve earned promotion back to the top championship. Emma-Sofie Nordstrom is an NCAA goaltender for St. Lawrence.

China

Lady Dragons return to the top-tier world championship for the first time since 2009. China’s resurgence began at the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing where the host country stunned Japan and Denmark and fell 2-1 to the Swedes to narrowly miss a quarterfinal berth.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 2, 2024.

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