In 12 days, the prelims for the 2021 IIHF Women’s World Championships will begin up in Calgary, Alberta and it is time to start preparing. There is no doubt in my mind that Team USA is going to once again kick ass at this championship. This is the first Women’s Worlds since 2019 and need I remind you that the US has won the Gold at the last five WWCs so I fully anticipate them doing it again. That’s right baby, we’re going for the six-pete (it works).
As I said this Championship is going down in Calgary starting the 20th. We have been waiting for these games to go down, for a while since they’ve been postponed a few times. As excited as I am, I will be holding my breath till the first puck drop. Last time this championship was pushed back way back in April, the athletes were already in Nova Scotia waiting to play. So until I see the puck drop on the 20th, I’ll keep my heart guarded.
Nevertheless, I will never pass up an opportunity to hype up this roster. It is so solid. 16 of the 25 women on this US roster have won a WWC gold medal, some have won 2 and even with the newer blood on the team I trust them wholeheartedly.
All 3 goalies, Alex Cavallini (Rigsby), Nicole Hensley, and Maddie Rooney, have at least 1 WWC gold each. Both Cavallini and Hensley are Olympians and the younger Rooney has played plenty to prove she’d be worthy of an Olympian bid someday. All 3 are currently with the PWHPA. Cavallini is with Team WSF (New Hampshire) and Hensly and Rooney are with my favorite team, Team Adidas. I’m sure we’ll see a lot of Cavallini but honestly, whichever one of these 3 are in net, they have my full confidence. They have all played some high stakes games and I believe in them to get the job done 100%.
Their defense is once again, IMO, a force to be reckoned with. Half of these defenders (4/8) won gold at the 2019 WWC, 3 of those 4 have an Olympic Gold medal. That’s Lee Stecklein, Megan Keller, Cayla Barnes, and Megan Bozek (Bozek doesn’t have the Olympic gold). All well known players for a reason, they’ve been a part of the foundation that the women’s game is built on today. When you think of the greats that made women’s hockey what it is today, all 4 of those names are up there because they’re such amazing players. The four “newbies” are Natalie Buchbinder (University of Wisconsin), Jincy Dunne (PWHPA, Team WSF), Savannah Harmon (PWHPA, Team Adidas), and Caroline Harvey (JWHL). Buchbinder and Harmon stand out the most to me. I liked Buchbinder at Wisconsin, she has 2 NCAA titles with that school for a reason. Although this is Harmon’s first time with the USA logo, she played great at the NCAA level and into her pro years between the PWHPA and NWHL. All of these women are the best of the best defenders stateside and I’m sure they’ll be shutting the other teams down left and right out there.
Now onto the 14 forwards the US will have out there. Of these 14 just 5 will be new to this group. Of the returning there is Dani Cameranesi, Alex Carpenter, Jesse Compher, Kendall Coyne Schofield, Brianna Decker, Amanda Kessel, Hilary Knights, Kelly Pannek, and Hayley Scamurra. All of those players I feel like need no introduction. They’re some of the best hockey players on the planet and anyone who knows anything can tell you how great they are. Between those 9 players there are at least 15 gold medals. I think that says enough. As for the new 5 players – and I say new lightly they just weren’t here for either of the last tournament.
As for those 5, they are all rising stars in this sport. I’ll start with my girl Abby Roque. I’ve talked time and time again about how this girl is going to be a legend one day. She’s been amazing with Team USA (and Team Adidas) so far in her pro career and that’s just going to continue at this WWC. Then there is Grace Zumwinkle and Abbey Murphy, both from University of Minnesota. Grace was lights out this season, I talked about that here. Murphy has kicked ass at the last 3 U-18WWC so she’ll do great here too. Then the last 2 “newbies”, Lacey Eden and Britta Curl will be joining from University of Wisconsin. Wisconsin is coming off a great season with the NCAA title so no surprise here that there’s so many Badgers up and down this roster. Once again, I think they’ll slot in fine.
Overall, I think this team is going to blow the others out of the water. I just rambled for over 900 words and if we’re honest, I could keep going. I could talk about every single one of these players and tell you why they were made for this team but we’d be here until the games begun. I am so so so so excited for the Championships to start and to see this team play. I mean USA Hockey really pulled all the best players from everywhere – we got the PWHPA, NCAA, JWHL, and even Carpenter and Bozek are coming back after a killer season with the Vanke Rays over in Russian Women’s league to help us kick ass. Honestly if you gave me the ability to create my own US All-Star team, my only change would be I’d swap in Annie Pankowski somewhere, other than that, this roster is perfect.
Here is where you can look at the full schedule but Game 1 is against Switzerland on August 20th at 8:30PM CT. All the games will be on NHL Network so be sure to tune in if you want to see some great hockey. I’ll be watching decked in my USA jersey with some Miller Lites in hand, just like I was for the Men’s World Juniors earlier this year. Let’s bring home another gold!
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Featured Image: USA Hockey