OLYMPIC PREVIEW: Women’s Hockey

Sports by

Olympic gold is Canada’s to lose in Vancouver. After winning easily in Salt Lake City and Turin, Canada will be relying on experience to guide them to the top of the podium once again. Canadian legends Kim St. Pierre and Hayley Wickenheiser are back, along with superstar McGill goaltender Charline Labonté, but the team will be without veteran Danielle Goyette for the first time since the 1998 Games.The road to the championship, however, will not be a walk in the park – Team USA will be good competition for the Canadians this year. After the 2006 Olympics, Canada won gold at the 2007 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships, but had to settle for silver in the same tournament for two consecutive years, falling to the United States both times.Kim Martin – named best goaltender at the 2006 Olympics – and her Swedish squad will attempt to upset both Canada and the United States, while Finland hopes that they can build on their third place finish at the 2009 IIHF Tournament.

Athletes to watch: Catherine Ward, who graduated last year as the highest scoring defender in Martlets history, will make her first appearance with the Canadian Olympic team this year. The 22-year-old Montrealer was part of the senior team that took home silver in 2009, recording four assists in five games.

Predictions:Gold: CAN Silver: USABronze: SWE