The 4 Nations Cup will bring a battle for international women’s hockey supremacy to Saskatoon’s Sasktel Centre this week.
With the preparations complete and the practices out of the way, all that’s left is for Finland, Sweden, the United States and Canada to play for gold in a five-day tournament that unofficially starts the next Olympic cycle for women’s hockey.
Team Canada captain Marie-Philip Poulin said she’s ready to bury February’s 3-2 gold medal game loss to the U.S. at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and claim another gold medal.
“It’s the first time wearing that jersey since the Olympics,” she said after the team’s final practice on Monday. “Obviously there’s a lot of emotions and it’s a new group with new faces.”
“It’s pretty exciting for us playing here in Saskatchewan.”
Canada begins its tournament Tuesday night against the Swedes, while the U.S. and Finland tangle in the afternoon game.
After NHL assistant coaching stops in New York, Edmonton, Montreal, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Vancouver, Canadian bench boss Perry Pearn said he’s honoured to be making his Team Canada head coaching debut.
“I think it’s hard to be Canadian and not be excited about having an opportunity to represent Canada in hockey,” he said. “Anytime you put on the jersey or put on the sweat suit, you’re going to be pretty proud.”
It’s not Pearn’s first visit to Sasktel Centre. He served an assistant coach for Canada at the World Junior Championship in 1991.
Now, Pearn said he is hoping his team can start it’s journey to the Beijing Winter Olympics on the right foot.
“We have some work to do,” he said. “We didn’t finish where we wanted at the last Olympics, so we’ll push hard to be better.”