After a brief hiatus because of the pandemic, the U.S. Collegiate Women’s Select Team is making its return.
The collegiate team will begin its three-game series against Canada later today in Calgary, Alberta.
“We haven’t been able to do this for a few years, so this is pretty awesome,” said Allison Coomey, head coach of the 2022 U.S. Collegiate Women’s Select Team. “It’s always a great experience competing against your top rival. I think for that purpose and the development piece, it’s a great all-around opportunity.”
The U.S. Collegiate Women’s Select Team is typically referred to as the U.S. Under-22 Women’s Select Team. But the team did not play the past two years because of the pandemic, so all players with college eligibility were able to make the team.
“We’re fortunate, in this environment, to be able to do something like this in the summer where you’re not taking the players away from their college team during important times in the season,” Coomey said. “That’s less stress on the players too because they leave [the tournament] and either go right to school, or have a week or two to get ready.”
The team also features a pair of University of Wisconsin teammates who were both on the 2021 U.S. Women’s National Team roster in defender Natalie Buchbinder and forward Britta Curl. Additionally, a pair of 2022 U.S. Under-18 Women’s National Team members appear on the roster in Laila Edwards, a forward from Wisconsin who was named the MVP of that tournament, and Penn State forward Tessa Janecke.
The players were selected to represent the U.S. following their participation in the 2022 USA Hockey Women’s National Festival, which took place earlier this month in Buffalo, New York.
“We have some good young players,” Coomey said. “We have players with a lot of experience at this level and at higher levels. It’s an interesting group in that way, but there’s a ton of talent.”
The U.S. plays back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday night before the final game of the series on Saturday. All games begin at 9:30 p.m. ET in Calgary.
“It’s hard not to get up to play Canada,” Coomey said. “All of our players play with their players as well back on their college teams. I think there’s a lot of fun involved, but when you get on the ice, you definitely want to beat them.”
The series started in 1999 and has been held 15 times. Most recently, the U.S. scored a pair of victories, including one in overtime, during the 2019 series in Lake Placid, New York. The U.S. also won in 2018, sweeping the series with three wins in regulation when the teams played in Calgary. The U.S. boasts a 20-3-6-16-2 record over Canada.
“It’s always a big deal to play against Canada and see how you stack up,” Coomey said. “With the development piece of it, we haven’t had an opportunity to do this the last few years, so just to see where our up-and-coming players fit … there’s big significance in that realm.”
With a short-term event, Coomey said the goal is to get everybody on the same page as quickly as possible, while also working to develop the players for their upcoming collegiate season.
“We want to have each player leave with something they didn’t know, or a part of their game that they can improve when they go back home,” Coomey said. “The development piece is huge, so they know the next time they’re in this environment, they can be in a better place. Obviously, you want to win, but getting better every game is a good step, too.”
Coomey, her players and the staff are excited that the three-game series has returned against Canada.
“I think it’s great for USA Hockey to see those players at this level,” Coomey said. “It’s hard when you’re going through a college season … the ability to get out and see teams hasn’t been easy, so getting the best players in one place and competing … for that reason alone, it’s just good to have everyone in one place.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.