Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Wickenheiser Reluctantly Accepts Rest Week as Canada Competes in Four Nations

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Wickenheiser Reluctantly Accepts Rest Week as Canada Competes in Four Nations

Article excerpt

Wickenheiser reluctantly accepts rest week

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CALGARY - Hayley Wickenheiser wishes she was playing in the Four Nations Cup this week, but says she accepts the decision by coaches to leave her off the Canadian women's hockey team roster along with five other players.

Canada's all-time scorer and captain for all major tournaments since 2007 was one of six players who didn't make the trip to Lake Placid, N.Y., for the annual international women's hockey tournament featuring Canada, the U.S., Sweden and Finland.

Canadian head coach Dan Church said the move was made to give the 35-year-old Wickenheiser and other veteran players a rest.

Assistant captain and three-time Olympian Caroline Ouellette and forward Marie-Philip Poulin, as well as defencemen Meaghan Mikkelson, Lauriane Rougeau and Laura Fortino were the others who remained in Calgary.

Poulin, who is recovering from an ankle injury, and Mikkelson were members of the team that won an Olympic gold medal in 2010.

Canada has 27 women based in Calgary trying out for the 2014 Olympic team expected to be named in late December. Three forwards and three defencemen will be released.

Wickenheiser has played in 14 Nations Cups during her career. Canada opened the tournament Tuesday against Finland and faces the host U.S. on Wednesday. The final is Saturday.

"You want to go, so it's disappointing," Wickenheiser said Tuesday. "They have their plan and their reasons for doing things, so you have to accept the decision I guess.

"It's hard. You want to be there. But keep in mind the big picture and what we're trying to accomplish in February. They have a plan with the team and what they want to do. You just have to trust that."

Wickenheiser played through knee and back injuries at the world championship in April, but says health didn't keep her off the 21-player roster for the Four Nations.

"I'm not injured. I'm 100 per cent," she said.

The Americans are the defending world champions and winner of the last two Four Nations Cups. The U.S. defeated Canada 3-2 last April in Ottawa to win their four world title in five years.

Canada and the U.S. have already played two of six exhibition games scheduled for this winter with the Canadians prevailing 3-2 in Burlington, Vt. …

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