Hamilton’s Fortino gets nod as alternate captain for women’s hockey team

Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team is set to begin its quest for gold at the 2009 IIHF World Women’s Under-18 Championship, in Füssen, Germany. Canada won silver from the inaugural world championship last year, falling 5-2 to the United States in the gold medal game in Calgary.

“It was a difficult loss last year, especially playing in our home country. I’m really looking forward to leading the team to success in this year’s tournament,” said Oakville’s Brianne Jenner, who will serve as Canada’s captain.

Canada opens the tournament on Monday (Jan. 5) against Switzerland, and will face Finland on Tuesday and the Czech Republic on Wednesday in preliminary round Group B action. The semifinals are set for Friday, Jan. 9, with the bronze and gold medal games scheduled for the next day.

Defenceman Laura Fortino of Hamilton and a member of the Stoney Creek Sabres in the Provincial Women’s Hockey League, and forward Marie-Philip Poulin (Beauceville, QC) are alternate captains. Jenner, Fortino and Poulin won silver medals with Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team at last year’s world championship.

“We’re excited to have such tremendous leaders on our team,” said White. “We feel they provided leadership back in August during our three-game series against the United States, as well as during our pre-competition camp in Toronto. I have no doubt these three athletes will be successful in leading the team at the world championship in Germany.”

Before departing for Germany the team took part in a pre-competition camp in Toronto, which included a pair of exhibition games against Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) teams.

In the first game, Poulin and Laurie Kingsbury (Valleyfield, QC) scored a pair of goals each and nine players had a multiple-point game in a 10-0 win over the University of Toronto, while Jenner’s five points (two goals, three assists) led Canada at a 9-0 win over York University in the second game.

“These athletes have come together quickly which is going to make them a difficult team to play. The exhibition games in Toronto helped us grow on and off the ice as a team,” said White.

Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team includes two goaltenders, six defencemen and 12 forwards. Eighteen of the 20 players were members of Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team for a three-game series against the United States in August in Lake Placid, NY, and all 20 participated in the 2008 National Women’s Under-18 Championship in Napanee, ON, including six members of Team Ontario Red, which captured its fifth consecutive gold medal.

The National Women’s Under-18 Team is a key component of Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence, which, along with the under-22 program, helps identify, evaluate and develop female hockey players for Canada’s National Women’s Team.

For more information on Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team and the 2009 IIHF World Women’s Under-18 Championship, visit www.hockeycanada.ca.