ALMATY, Kazakhstan (U SPORTS) – U SPORTS national champion Katelyn Gosling and forward Olivier Hinse of the Concordia Stingers have been selected as the respective captains of the Canadian women's and men's hockey teams that will compete in the 2017 Winter Universiade in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
The hockey tournaments of the 28th biennial Games will begin on January 28. Gold medal games are set on Feb. 6 for the women's tournament and February 8 for men's in advance of the Universiade's Closing Ceremonies on the same day. The women's ice hockey team secured the silver medal at the Granada 2015 Games, their first championship loss since the discipline's inception in 2009, while the men seek to add their fifth gold medal after claiming bronze in the previous Games.
Canada opens the women's competition Saturday at 4:30 p.m. local (5:30 a.m. EST) against China while the men begin on Monday at 7:30 p.m. local (8:30 a.m. EST) against USA.
Gosling, now graduated from Western University where she led the Western Mustangs to the U SPORTS national championship in 2015, is looking to improve on her previous silver medal in the Winter Universiade in Granada. Now a member of the Calgary Inferno of the Canadian Women's Hockey League (CWHL), Gosling was named a U SPORTS First-Team All-Canadian in 2013 and Second Team All-Canadian in 2015. Since her previous Universiade appearance, Gosling represented her country at the Nations Cup with the Canadian women's development team, winning gold.
Serving as alternate captains in Almaty will be Saskatchewan Huskies forward Kaitlin Willoughby, St. Thomas Tommies forward Kelty Apperson, and Montreal Carabins forward Jessica Cormier. Although all are making their Universiade debuts, Apperson and Willoughby enter the tournament with leadership experience as the captain and alternate captain of their respective U SPORTS teams.
"I'm definitely proud and honoured," said Gosling. "It's not an opportunity that comes often so I'm very happy to have been chosen, but at the same time our team is full of leaders so it will be a team effort for sure. Going into my second FISU Games, I'm hoping I can share my experience with the girls, help them get the most out of the event. Together, our goal is definitely to reclaim that gold medal."
"Katelyn has tremendous experience at the international level," explains Rachel Flanagan, head coach of the Canadian women's team as well as the Guelph Gryphons. "She was captain of her university team, and now she has experience playing pro hockey. We really want to lean on her experience in short tournament events, which some of our girls haven't had before. She's really started to come out of her shell from a leadership standpoint the past couple of years, and we really feel her age and experience will help lead the team."
Hinse, who played four seasons in the QMJHL, currently serves as captain of the Concordia Stingers men's hockey team. In his fifth year with the Stingers, the Sherbrooke, Que., native is tied for the team lead in scoring with 17 goals and 28 points in 23 games. In 2015, Hinse was named the national winner of the Dr. Randy Gregg Award for hockey academic and community service. He also served as captain of the U SPORTS All-Stars against the Canadian National Junior Team prospects in December, after being an alternate captain in the same event in 2015.
Serving as alternate captains are McGill Redmen defenseman Nathan Chiarlitti, Carleton Ravens forward Michael McNamee, and UQTR Patriotes defenseman Martin Lefebvre. Each of these players joined Hinse on the U SPORTS All-Stars against the World Junior prospects, with Lefebvre serving as alternate captain.
"(Head coach Brett Gibson) called me about a week ago to give me the news," said Hinse. "I was at work and I couldn't focus anymore, I just stopped working. I've been captain at Concordia for three years now but there's really nothing like being selected to captain your national team. It's such a great honour. There's so much leadership on this team, I already know my job will be very easy."
"I got the opportunity to coach Olivier at our all-star games against the Canadian World Juniors each of the past two years," explained Gibson, head coach of the Canadian men's team and the Queen's Gaels, who served as U SPORTS All-Star bench boss this season after being an assistant in December 2015 "He's just a wonderful human being on and off the ice. He shows leadership beyond his years, and he's just a guy who commands respect when he walks into a room. He was an easy choice to captain our team here in Almaty."
All eight members of the leadership group of the men's and women's hockey teams will take part in an outdoor shinny game with local youth organized by the Embassy of Canada to Kazakhstan on Friday. The captains will each be joined by an additional teammate in the event, which features five men and five women from Team Canada, beginning at 2:30 p.m. local (3:30 a.m. EST).
Team Canada website: http://english.usports.ca/universiade/winter/2017/index
Almaty 2017 website: http://www.almaty2017.com
WOMEN'S SCHEDULE (all times local / 11 hours ahead of EST)
Saturday, Jan. 28 (16:30): Canada vs. China (www.livefisu.tv)
Monday, Jan. 30 (16:30): Canada vs. Great Britain
Wednesday, Feb. 1 (20:00): Canada vs. Kazakhstan
Saturday, Feb. 4 (16:30, 20:00): Semifinals (www.livefisu.tv)
Monday, Feb. 6 (16:30): Bronze (www.livefisu.tv)
Monday, Feb 6 (20:00): Gold (www.livefisu.tv)
MEN'S SCHEDULE (all times local / 11 hours ahead of EST)
Monday, Jan. 30 (19:30): Canada vs. USA (www.livefisu.tv)
Wednesday, Feb. 1 (16:00): Canada vs. Great Britain
Friday, Feb. 3 (12:30): Canada vs. Slovakia (www.livefisu.tv)
Saturday, Feb. 4 (16:00, 19:30): Quarterfinals (www.livefisu.tv)
Sunday, Feb. 5 (16:00, 19:30): Quarterfinals (www.livefisu.tv)
Tuesday, Feb. 7 (16:00, 19:30): Semifinals (www.livefisu.tv)
Wednesday, Feb. 8 (11:00): Bronze (www.livefisu.tv)
Wednesday, Feb. 8 (15:00): Gold (www.livefisu.tv)
About the Winter Universiade
The Almaty Universiade will feature eight compulsory sports and four optional sports. Compulsory sports: alpine skiing, biathlon, ice hockey, curling, cross country skiing, short track speed skating, figure skating and snowboarding. Optional sports: ski jumping, nordic combined, freestyle skiing and long-track speed skating.