Caroline Ouellette takes Team Canada's women into new era
Replaces Hayley Wickenheiser as captain
As if changing coaches so close to the Olympic Games wasn’t enough to shake up the Canadian women’s Olympic Hockey Team, now it has changed captains, too.
Veteran Caroline Ouellette will wear the "C" in Sochi replacing longtime captain Hayley Wickenheiser. This is not an unexpected move. As early as last summer Melody Davidson, the team’s general manager, suggested to CBC Olympics that a change could be coming.
Wickenheiser, who will compete in her fifth Games in hockey, will be a permanent alternate captain with the other "A" rotating between Jayna Hefford and Catherine Ward.
The men’s team named Sidney Crosby the captain with Jonathan Toews and Shae Weber as alternates. Greg Westlake will continue as captain of the sledge hockey team while Brad Bowden and Adam Dixon are the alternates.
Kevin Dineen, coach of the women’s team, said he and the management team had tough decisions to make when choosing the captain and alternates.
“There is a tremendous amount of experience in our room and there is no shortage of qualified candidates to wear a letter,” said Dineen, who took over from Dan Church who resigned in December.
“The players we have selected as captains and alternates in Sochi have shown their dedication and commitment to the team and its end goal throughout a long season and we feel they are the ideal choices to lead our team through the Olympic experience.”
As for the men’s team, Crosby was the logical choice to serve as captain. He is widely regarded as the best hockey player in the world and has served as captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins since 2007.
Scott Niedermayer, who has since retired, was the captain of Team Canada at the 2010 Games in Vancouver.
Crosby, of course, scored the golden goal – an overtime winner in the gold medal game against the United States – at the Vancouver Games.
“Sidney, Jonathan and Shae have been leaders on the international stage in the past, as well as with their NHL teams,” said Team Canada coach Mike Babcock. “These three players will be at the forefront of our efforts in Sochi, but we are confident we have 25 players on our roster that will lead in their own way and allow our team to be successful.”
Westlake has been captain of the sledge hockey team since the 2010-11 season and has been a member of the team since 2003. He is Canada’s second all-time leading scorer with 126 goals and 250 points in 147 games.
This is the leadership team we have had in place since 2011 and we have the utmost confidence in them leading our team in Sochi,” said head coach Mike Mondin. “Greg, Brad and Adam have worn the team Canada jersey with pride every time they have put it on and have earned the right to wear a letter on the game’s biggest stage.”