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The past two months have been busy for several former and current Whitecaps playing for their national teams. Team USA, with five Whitecaps players, defended their reigning gold medal title at the International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s World Championships in Plymouth, Michigan, this past April. Whitecaps Hannah Brandt, Kendall Coyne, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, Monique Lamoureux-Morando, and Alex Rigsby all gave great efforts to help the American team win their eighth gold at the World Championships in ten years. Additionally, Mira Jalosuo earned a bronze medal with Team Finland, beating Tanja Eisenschmid’s Germany squad who had an impressive showing with that trip to the bronze medal game.
During the tournament, Team USA went undefeated, facing Russia (7-0), Finland (5-3), Germany (11-0), and Canada twice (2-0 and 3-2), including an overtime gold medal matchup. In the first round game against Russia, Coyne netted two goals and two assists, with Lamoureux-Davidson scoring two goals herself and Lamoureux-Morando assisting on three of the United States’ seven goals. Coyne was also named Player of the Game. The final first round game against Finland saw one goal each from Brandt and Lamoureux-Davidson, with Coyne assisting on two goals and scoring one of her own. Rigsby played in goal, and Brandt was awarded Player of the Game honors. In the elimination round, Team USA bested Germany with help yet again from multiple Whitecaps—Lamoureux-Davidson with one goal and Coyne and Lamoureux-Morando with two goals and an assist each. Coyne was named Player of the Game for the second time in the tournament. In the gold medal game against Team Canada, Kendall Coyne starred again, assisting on two goals, including Hilary Knight’s overtime game winner. Coyne was tied for the top scorer of the tournament with twelve points; USA teammate and tournament MVP Brianna Decker was the other leading scorer.
Following the success at the World Championships, eight current or former Whitecaps were invited to the United States’ National Team Selection Camp. Shelby Amsley-Benzie, Stephanie Anderson, Hannah Brandt, Kendall Coyne, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, Monique Lamoureux-Morando, Alex Rigsby, and Jessie Vetter McConnell all traveled to a suburb of Tampa Bay, Florida, to participate in the camp. The purpose of the camp was to determine which of these forty-two elite players would move on to the 2017-2018 USA Women’s National Team, which will ultimately become the 2018 Olympic team. The five day camp included practices, off-ice testing, and scrimmages.
On April 5th, the 2017-2018 USA Women’s National Team roster was announced. This twenty-three woman roster contained five current Whitecaps—Brandt, Coyne, Lamoureux-Davidson, Lamoureux-Morando, and Rigsby. Coyne, Lamoureux-Davidson, and Lamoureux-Morando were all on the 2014 USA Women’s Olympic Team which won the silver medal in a defeat against rival Canada.
It was also announced that Robb Stauber, former Whitecaps head coach, will be the head coach of the USA Women’s Olympic team for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Stauber was the head coach for the incredibly successful Team USA at the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championships. He had been an assistant coach at several other women’s tournaments, including the 2014 Sochi Games. Stauber is a graduate of the University of Minnesota (where he won the Hobey Baker Award and was a star goaltender), and he played professionally, including four seasons in the NHL. He has also been a goaltending coach for the University of Minnesota’s men’s team and the University of Minnesota Duluth’s women’s team. He helped lead both teams to national championships.
Photo credit: USA Hockey