On Sunday, Aug. 12, Hockey Canada announced the roster for its Under-22/Development team. Six out of the 22 selected are Big Red women’s hockey players. The players selected came from a pool of 40 women that were being considered, which included sophomore forward Emily Fulton.
The six Cornellians representing Team Canada are senior defenseman Laura Fortino, junior forwards Jessica Campbell and Brianne Jenner and defenseman Hayleigh Cudmore, sophomore forward Jillian Saulnier and incoming freshman defenseman Cassandra Poudrier.
“It’s always an honor to represent your country no matter what the level is and I think to have such a large group represented from Cornell and to be a part of our national program is something really special,” Campbell said. “It’s always such an honor to put on our country’s jersey, and I am really excited that I was fortunate enough to make the team.”
Fortino and Jenner were also selected to be alternate captains for the Under-22/Development team. This is not their first time representing Canada, as they have played for the Canadian Senior National Team. Back in April, they won gold at the IIHF World Championship in Vermont.
“Of course, whenever you get the opportunity to represent your country it’s a great honor,” Fortino said. “[And] especially at this stage, there are so many girl hockey players that are so talented is very humbling. It’s so exciting to play against these girls that are the best in the world.”
Campbell, Sauliner and Poudrier also have some prior experience — they helped earn a bronze medal for Canada at the 2012 Meco Cup in Germany.
Fortino credits much of the Red’s success in getting to the Under-22/Development team to their level of dedication here on East Hill.
“It was pretty awesome that from one team we could have that many girls representing Canada,” she said. “That just shows how well developed our players come out of this program and how much knowledge Coach Derraugh ’91 gives us and how much we develop every day here.”
The team competed against the United States Under-22 team in a three-game series Aug. 16, 17 and 19 in Calgary, Alberta. The Canadian Cornellians were competing against a teammate of theirs — junior goalie Lauren Siebodnick — who was selected to the United States Under-22 team just a day after her Red teammates were selected to Canada’s.
“Making the team was awesome, and so was playing against the States,” Fortino said. “That’s our biggest rivalry … and to have the chance to play them on the big stage was awesome.”
The United States won all three games, marking its first victories in regulation against Canada since 2004.
Representatives of the Red on Team Canada are ready to take their summer experiences with them into the 2012-13 ECAC season.
“I think [playing on the Under-22 team] will have a good impact and elevate my game that I’m able to bring to Cornell,” Campbell said. “We have such a strong group of girls on our team; we all push each other and having experience with the national team gives us confidence to really raise the bar and keep pushing ourselves to get better. This should elevate not just myself but the team as a whole.”
Fortino agreed with this sentiment and expressed optimism for Cornell’s upcoming season.
“Any time you go to a camp like that with such a high caliber players, you obviously know the levels to play at to continue making the team,” she said. “You find your weaknesses and work harder every day to improve those. I think that it’s an advantage going forward because you can see where your game needs to be and play at that level.”