aug10 rediihf

The world comes to Calgary

IIHF Women’s High Performance Camp part of Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team selection camp

Chris Jurewicz -
August 11, 2015

Over the course of four years, Melody Davidson has seen significant change in women’s hockey.

“When we first started, you could sit down and watch the scrimmages or the ice times and you could pick out the North American players, Canada and the U.S., without a roster sheet,” says Davidson, Hockey Canada’s general manager of national women’s team programs. “And the last couple of years, I started to need a roster sheet to know my own players, or know the American players.”

Davidson is referring to the rise of the IIHF Women’s High Performance Camp, which has brought together some of the top young female U18 players since 2012. After the camp in Vierumäki, Finland, last year, two camps are being held simultaneously in Canada and the United States, and include top athletes from 16 countries.

The IIHF Women’s High Performance Camp originated in 2011 when the IIHF and its members decided to take action to improve competitiveness of the women’s game. Jacques Rogge, former president of the International Olympic Committee, challenged women’s hockey with scathing remarks about the state of the game following several one-sided games at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

That challenge led to the initiatives such as this camp, which began in 2011 with a focus on senior women’s development. In 2012, the decision was made to focus on development at the under-18 level.

Davidson, who coached Canada’s National Women’s Team before moving on to the GM role, says the camps are working. They’re working so well, in fact, that the IIHF has changed the format for 2015.

In years past, players from all countries were split evenly among a number of teams. Canadians and Americans, the long-time women’s hockey leaders, were split up to practice and play alongside Czechs, Russians, Germans and players from other countries.

This year, Canada and the United States are playing host to their own camps and will ice their own full teams to take on IIHF teams. Canada will take its top 43 U18 players, split them into Red and White teams, and have those teams take on an all-star team made up of the finest players that other IIHF countries have to offer.

The two Canadian teams, plus Team IIHF (made up of players from Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Japan, Korea, Norway and Switzerland), are taking part in Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team selection camp from Aug. 7-16 in Calgary at Canada Olympic Park.

USA Hockey, meanwhile, is holding a similar camp from Aug. 7-17 in Lake Placid, N.Y., with players from Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Russia, Slovakia and Sweden taking part. The top 31 American U18 players will play three games against the IIHF all-star team.

“Coming out of last year, we realized that the countries had really bought in and they were sending their best players,” says Davidson. “Their best players were as good as any of our players on a small scale. We just had more depth than most of them.

“What we were starting to see was the challenge to the other countries’ players wasn’t quite as high because they were fitting in and, at times, they were challenging our players. So our next step was, how do we continue to grow them and get them to understand there is still another level out there yet? These are five of our best players but there’s still a whole team. So we were looking for a bit of a change.”

During the camps in Calgary and Lake Placid, all athletes will take part in pratices, several exhibition games, off-ice dryland training, fitness testing and high performance classroom sessions with the goal to make everybody a better athlete.

“This is an opportunity for us to take a number of different countries and share some of the best practices that we have at USA Hockey and Hockey Canada,” says Reagan Carey, director of women’s hockey at USA Hockey. “It’s critical to be proactive teammates in growing our sport.”

Following the two development camps, both Hockey Canada and USA Hockey will name their U18 teams that will compete in a three-game series in Lake Placid from Aug. 20-23. All of this is part of the process in determining who will represent their countries at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 Women’s World Championship, Jan. 8-15, 2016, in St. Catharines, Ont., near Toronto.

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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