2 Nova Scotians make Canadian women's Olympic hockey team

Nova Scotians Jillian Saulnier and Blayre Turnbull will represent Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Jillian Saulnier, of Halifax, and Blayre Turnbull, of Stellarton, to play at 2018 Winter Olympics

Canada's Jillian Saulnier battles with USA's Jocelyne Lamoureux Davidson during a 2016 game. Saulnier was one of two Nova Scotians chosen for the Winter Olympic team. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Nova Scotians Jillian Saulnier, of Halifax, and Blayre Turnbull, of Stellarton, will represent Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, as part of the women's hockey team.

The 23-woman roster was announced at a televised event in Calgary at 1 p.m. AT.

Saulnier, 25, and Turnbull, 24, were chosen from a tryout roster of 28 players and are the first Nova Scotians to ever make the Olympic squad.

Saulnier, one of the fastest women's hockey players on the planet, was one of the last cuts from Canada's 2014 Olympic team.

'Instant tears came to my eyes'

She found out yesterday she made the cut during a meeting with the team's coaches and general manager.

"Instant tears came to my eyes. It's been a long journey, it's been a tough journey, but it was all worth it," said Saulnier.

To play against better competition, Saulnier left Nova Scotia when she entered Grade 10 and ended up attending five high schools in Ontario including in Toronto, Oakville and Stoney Creek. She also went to a high school in the U.S.

Memories of Salt Lake City

Saulnier said watching Team Canada at the Olympics was a tradition for her, but when the women won gold for the first time in Salt Lake City in 2002, that was a turning point for her.

"I knew I wanted to be there one day as well. Watching them and seeing the legacy that they've left behind has done nothing but add motivation to making it there one day as well," she said.

The former Cornell University forward now plays in the Canadian Women's Hockey League for the Calgary Inferno.

Turnbull, 24, also plays for the Inferno and played college hockey at the University of Wisconsin.

She has established herself as one of the team's top penalty killers.

"These players have worked hard to earn this moment and we are confident that they will be able to inspire and unite our country as they set their sights on a fifth straight gold medal for Canada," head coach Laura Schuler said in a statement.

Nova Scotian coach

Nova Scotia will also be represented by assistant coach Troy Ryan, who is from Spryfield.

The Olympics will take place from Feb. 9 to 25, with Team Canada's first game on Feb. 11 against Russia.

Pyeongchang 2018 will mark the sixth time women's hockey has been part of the Olympic Winter Games. Canadian teams have won four of five gold medals.​

With files from Paul Palmeter