Barracuda set to meet China in exhibition women’s hockey

The Burlington Barracuda Senior AAA Women take on Team China in an exhibition hockey game this Sunday (Oct. 25) at Appleby Ice Centre at noon in an International Ice Hockey sanctioned game.

This is the first time the City of Burlington has hosted an international women’s hockey team.

Twenty-nine Team China members and staff arrived in Ontario on Sept. 1 and had their first practice two days later in Vaughan in preparation for a 21-game tour against university, senior AAA and junior rep clubs from Ontario. Their first game was against the Junior Cambridge Fury of the Provincial Women’s Hockey League on Sept. 8 which the Chinese National’s won 5-4.

On Sept.13, Team China played the Mississauga Chiefs of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and the Senior AAA Chiefs came out with a win 3 – 0. Just this past weekend, China crushed the Junior Hamilton Hawks, 9-1. So far, Team China has a record of 12 wins, 4 losses and a tie.

“This should be a very interesting game as China seems to be getting stronger and stronger with each game they play,” said Burlington coach Pat Cocklin. “This is a great opportunity to showcase how far women’s hockey has evolved since the 1998 winter Olympics. As a team, we are all looking forward to the game and to be able to provide a learning experience for the Chinese Women’s Hockey Team and for us as well.”

The Nelson High School Choir will be on hand to sing both National Anthems at the game. Choir Director Karen Page is very confident that they can handle the job and the entire choir is most excited at the challenge of learning the Chinese National Anthem.

The first 150 youngsters arriving at the Appleby Ice Centre wearing their own team jersey will receive free fan towels courtesy of Advertech Group. Kobe Sportswear will be providing the gifts for the Team China players and delegation. Fortinos on New Street and Appleby Line have graciously donated the game meal for both teams and the Burlington Girl’s Hockey Organization have provided all of the volunteers for the day. Without this support, our Burlington Senior Team would not be able to host this wonderful event and provide the Community with a unique and entertaining afternoon.

The Barracuda, in their last outing on Sunday, played the Mississauga Chiefs at Iceland and lost a tough match 5-3 while outshooting the Chiefs 39-33. Former Olympian Sami Jo Small was in net for the Chiefs and was easily the first star of the game.

The scoring opened late in the first period by Cudas’ rookie Michelle Janus, assisted by assistant captain Lindsay Vine and Ashley Johnston, but Mississauga came right back 40 second later to tie the game. Less than five minutes into the second, Ashley Stewart scored with assists from Nikki Eckebrecht and a second helper from Vine. However, the Cuda lead again was tied 35 seconds later followed by two more quick goals from the Mississauga squad.

Kelly Zamora popped a goal, assisted by Ashley Johnston, but that was it for the Orange and Blue as they were stoned the rest of the way by Mississauga net-minder Sami Jo.

The newly formed CWHL has just started its third season. With more than 17 Olympians playing in the six-team league, the competition was furious this past year and the women’s game was more exciting than ever. Heading into an Olympic year, this season promises to spotlight women’s hockey all year right up to and following the Vancouver Games.

The Burlington Barracudas play in the CWHL along with Montreal, Ottawa, Vaughan, Mississauga, and Brampton. This past season, Montreal represented the East playing for the Clarkson Cup defeating Minnesota in a nationally televised game by TSN with both teams loaded with U.S. and Canadian Olympians, showing all of Canada what a great game women’s hockey really is.