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Hockey Canada names women's team for the 2014 Olympics

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According to Hockey Canada, the Canadian women's hockey roster was announced on Monday for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.

In a press release sent to www.examiner.com, there were three final cuts made to the team on Monday. The list included forwards Vicki Bendus and Bailey Bram and defenseman Courtney Birchard. The cuts were significant becaue Bram, Bendus and Birchard were all members of Team Canada's gold medal winning squad at the 2012 Women's World Hockey Championship in Burlington, Vermont.

The official roster consists of 12 forwards, six defensemen and three goaltenders. On the squad are two players who have had injury issues the last month--Hayley Wickenheiser of Shaunavon, Saskatchewan and Marie-Philip Poulin of Beauceville, Quebec. Both however are expected to be healthy by the time of the start of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, and be counted on for their offensive prowess. At 35, Wickenheiser is the greatest women's hockey player of all-time, while Poulin, 22, is the face of the Canadian women's team for the next generation.

Notable players on the roster include Shannon Szabados of Edmonton, who was the top goaltender at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and Meghan Agosta-Marciano of Ruthven, Ontario who was the most valuable player at the last Olympic Winter Games.

Other players on the team who won Olympic gold four years ago are defensemen Meaghan Mikkelson of Regina, Saskatchewan, Catherine Ward of Montreal, goaltender Charline Labonte of Boisbriand, Quebec, and forwards Rebecca Johnston of Sudbury, Ontario, Gillian Apps of Unionville, Ontario, Caroline Ouellette of Montreal, Jayna Hefford of Kingston, Ontario and Haley Irwin of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

It is clear the Canadian team needs a spark after losing their last two games to the United States in their exhibition series. Time will tell if the players will play more relaxed now that they know they are on Team Canada.

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