The USA Hockey Women’s National Festival an important events on the women’s hockey calendar, giving the nation's top players, across all levels, an opportunity to compete in one location.
This year’s festival, currently taking place through Aug. 13 at the LECOM Harborcenter in Buffalo, N.Y., will serve as a selection camp for three teams — the 2022 U.S. Women's National Team for the IIHF Women's World Championship August 25-September 4 in Denmark, the Collegiate Women's Select Team (previously known as the Under-22 Select team) and Under-18 Women's Select Team. Both select teams will face off against their Canadian counterparts in a three-game series set for August 17-20 in Calgary.
“Personally, I’m most excited about being on the ice with our country’s best players. It’s lived up to its hype and everything I expected,” recently named U.S. Women’s National Team head coach John Wroblewski said. “The skill level and the character of our players are off the charts.”
For the first time since 2019, all levels have gathered in Buffalo, as the camp serves as the unofficial puck drop to the upcoming season. This year, 108 players scored an invite, 76 players over the age of 18, including members of the 2022 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team, and 32 players eligible for the U18 team.
“Ultimately getting to work with the collection of players that we are going to put together means that you are working with an elite group, and while I’ve worked with other groups that are exceptional, this is the best of the best at what they do,” Wroblewski said.
The IIHF has added a Women’s World Championship in an Olympic year for the first time in women’s hockey history. A 23-player roster will head to Denmark with competition starting for Team USA on August 25.
With that competition looming at the end of the month, this camp now carries an extra importance for both players and staff.
“It’s exciting to be able to put a team together to compete at a world championship in the same year as an Olympics,” Katie Million, director of Women’s National Team Programs said. “We have the opportunity to gather the top 108 players in our country here in Buffalo, so we are looking forward to naming three teams to represent this country moving forward.”
The Collegiate Women's Select Team is normally referenced as the Under-22 Select Team, but due to not playing the past two years, all players with collegiate eligibility remaining are in contention.
The Under-18 Select Team will be selected from a group of 32 competing in Buffalo. A few familiar names from the 2022 U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team are back in camp and vying for a spot; Annelies Bergman, Cassie Hall, Molly Jordan, Maggie Scannell, Josie St. Martin and Finley McCarthy.