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Marie-Philip Poulin and Lauriane Rougeau named to Canada’s Olympic camp roster

The two Canadiennes make up part of the 28-player camp to centralize in Calgary

Finland v Canada - 2017 IIHF Women's World Championship Semifinal Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Hockey Canada released the names of the 28 players that will take part in their centralization camp leading up to the 2018 Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Marie-Philip Poulin, who has captained Canada at the last three World Championship tournaments, and Lauriane Rougeau are the representatives from Les Canadiennes of the CWHL, and should be expected to make the final roster. Only five players named to the camp will not make the Olympic roster.

Both players represented Canada at the 2014 Olympics. Poulin also represented Canada at the 2010 Olympics. She has four goals, two of them game-winning tallies, in her two Olympic Gold Medal games.

Both players were on Canada’s 2017 World Championship roster that lost in overtime to the United States.

“Having a tough loss at the World Championships is motivation for us,” said Poulin. “We have 28 girls ready to work hard every day [...] and pushing each other to get better for us to bring back the gold at the end.”

Twenty-one of the 28 invitees were named to the World Championship roster. The seven additions are goaltender Ann-Renee Desbiens, of Malbaie, QC, defenders Micah Hart and Brigette Lacquette and forwards Melodie Daoust, of Valleyfield, QC, Sarah Nurse, Amy Potomak, and Jill Saulnier.

“Any time you don’t get to wear that jersey it’s disappointing,” said Saulnier about bouncing back from not being on the Worlds roster, “but you use that as motivation and [...] to get that call and be a part of this, it’s a pretty exciting feeling.”

Poulin and Rougeau will be expected to miss most of the upcoming CWHL season for the centralization camp that will have players working full-time to prepare for the Olympics. Players will report to Calgary in late May for fitness testing.

CWHL teams can leave roster spots on their 25-player roster for Olympians to return at the end of the season, or sooner if they do not make the Olympic roster and are part of the cuts.

Daoust has finished her U Sports eligibility at McGill and has said in the past that she will play for Les Canadiennes. With her spot in the camp, the team may have to wait until next season. The same applies for Desbiens, who finished her time at Wisconsin with the Patty Kazmaier Award as the top player in NCAA women’s hockey.

Daoust was part of the roster in Sochi in 2014, but has been on and off of Team Canada rosters since then.

“Our depth was so great that with all of our events we had to use every event as an evaluation piece so that we could get a good look at every single player,” said head coach Laura Schuler. “As far as [Daoust] goes, she’s a 200-foot player. She has incredible hockey sense and her vision on the ice is exceptional. She had a great 4 Nations Cup and a very good season with McGill as well as her September camp, and her past performances were impressive.”

It is a changing of the guard in terms of Olympic rosters for Team Canada. This is the first Olympic roster without Hayley Wickenheiser, who announced her retirement earlier this year. Caroline Ouellette and Jayna Hefford, who debuted at the 2002 Olympics, are also not on this roster.

“Those are really big shoes to fill,” said Poulin. “But having the opportunity to play with them and learn from them.... We’ll have to make this team our own.”

“This is a new team and a new era and our focus is to get the program back on top,” said Brianne Jenner, who is also expected to be a big part of Canada’s leadership group.

The most surprising decision came in Canada’s crease. Emerance Maschmeyer, who has been at the last two World Championships, was not named to the roster, and Desbiens, who was last at the 2015 World Championship, was. She will be joined by Genevieve Lacasse, who was the third goaltender at the 2014 Games, and Shannon Szabados, who started the Gold Medal game at the last two Olympics.

“The one thing we are so lucky with is our depth in goaltending in Canada,” said Schuler. “The decision was incredibly, incredibly hard to make.”

Schuler said that the decision was made based on the players performances with their club teams and their performances with Team Canada.

“We feel we made the right decisions at those spots.”

Maschmeyer and Erica Howe are the alternate goaltenders who will fill in during camp or if any injuries occur to the three named goaltenders.