3 Manitobans named to Canadian women's Olympic hockey team
Bailey Bram from from Ste. Anne, Man. says representing Canada at Olympics has been a lifelong dream
Three Manitobans have made the Canadian women's hockey squad that will compete against the world's best at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang.
Jocelyne Larocque, 29, (defence), and and Bailey Bram, 27, (forward) both from from Ste. Anne, Man., as well as Brigette Lacquette, 25, (defence) from Mallard, Man., are among the 23 players named to the country's top team Friday.
Bram started playing hockey as a youngster on a backyard rink with her brothers and says her dream to play for Team Canada was sparked in 2007 when Winnipeg hosted the World Championships.
This won't be Larocque's first time playing at the Olympic level — she was on the ice for the 2014 games in Sochi, when the team beat the United States in overtime to clinch the gold medal — but this will be Bram and Lacquette's first time representing Canada at the Olympic games.
Bram says she grew up just down the road from Larocque and calls her an inspiration.
"She would play with my older brothers and she kind of paved the way for me," said Bram. "She's someone who I always looked up to or went to for advice — it's definitely pretty special to be sharing this moment with her."
'You're on edge everyday'
Tryouts for Team Canada started in May with a month-long bootcamp in Fredericton, N.B., which Bram says consisted of 12- to 13-hour days doing everything from weight training and track to swimming.
From there 28 players were picked to move onto training held in Calgary starting in August. The roster was then whittled down to the final 23 players, and the final three cuts included a fourth Manitoba player, defence Halli Krzyzaniak of Neepawa, Man.
"You're on edge everyday because you can get cut at any point," said Bram, who also tried out for the last Olympics and came painfully close to making the team. "For me, to be the last cut in 2014, it was definitely something that was pretty tough, so it was something that was in the back of my mind a lot.
"I didn't want it to happen again so I used it as motivation and it kind of pushed me to work a little hard every day."
The Canadian team will ice 14 forwards, six defence and three goalies in the Feb. 10-22 tournament.
"I would like to congratulate all 23 of our players that have made our roster," said Canada head coach Laura Schuler at Friday's announcement. "I want to thank them for their hard work, their commitment … but more importantly, I want to thank them for their passion and commitment to learning.
"When we made the final decisions, and we looked at what we needed to win gold, we felt these 23 people were going to be the 23 that we needed to have on the roster."
Bram says the team will continue to practice and train after the holidays before boarding a plane for South Korea Jan. 24.
With files from Ismaila Alfa and Doug Harrison