Veteran Rebecca Johnston named to Canada’s Rivalry Series final roster

Veteran Rebecca Johnston named to Canada’s Rivalry Series final roster

CALGARY — Veteran forward Rebecca Johnston returns to the Canada women’s hockey team for the final two games of a Rivalry Series against the United States.

The four-time Olympic gold medalist was among 24 players Hockey Canada announced Thursday to end the seven-game streak with the US currently leading 3-2.

Johnston, who has won three Olympic gold medals (2010, 2014, 2022) with Canada, took a break from hockey last fall to recover from a back injury.

The 33-year-old forward from Sudbury, Ontario was hired by the NHL’s Calgary Flames in a player development and community relations role.

The final two games of the series are February 20 in Trois-Rivières, Que., which Hockey Canada has declared a sell-out, and February 22 in Laval, Que.

The squad includes 18 players who have competed in the first five games of the series, including captain Marie-Philip Poulin, Sarah Nurse, Brianne Jenner, Emily Clark and goalkeeper Ann-Renée Desbiens.

Johnston, Nurse and Clark will join US forwards Alex Carpenter and Hilary Knight for Friday’s NHL All-Star Skills Show in Sunrise, Fla.

Canada’s final Rivalry Series lineup was selected by head coach Troy Ryan, chief of hockey Gina Kingsbury and player development manager Cherie Piper.

The USA won three straight games in November to open the series before Canada countered with two wins in December.

With the Rivalry Series complete, the host country will seek a third straight gold medal at the Women’s World Championships April 5-16 in Brampton, Ontario.

“As we look ahead to the 2023 IIHF Women’s World Championship on home ice, these final two games against the USA will be critical to our evaluation and preparation for April,” Kingsbury said in a statement Thursday.

“Throughout the series we’ve been able to see the depth of our program with different players and line combinations and we’re looking forward to two more competitive games against the Americans and showing off to our incredible fans.”

The story goes on

Hockey Canada recently announced a revenue-sharing component in its athlete agreement with the women, allowing players to earn money from the Rivalry Series.

Laura Stacey, Jessie Eldridge, Jill Saulnier, Elizabeth Giguere, Blayre Turnbull, Kristin O’Neill, Sarah Potomak, Jamie Lee Rattray and Victoria Bach round out the forwards selected for Quebec.

The defenders selected were Jocelyne Larocque, Renata Fast, Ella Shelton, Erin Ambroise, Jamie Bourbonnais, Micah-Zandee Hart and Claire Thompson.

Emerance Maschmeyer and Kristen Campbell join Desbiens in the goalkeeping trio.

The games will be broadcast by TSN and RDS.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on February 2, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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