Women's world hockey championship coming to Halifax and Truro
Saulnier, Turnbull expected to be part of Team Canada lineup in 2020
Another world hockey tournament is coming to Nova Scotia as officials announced Tuesday that the 2020 Women's World Hockey Championships will be played in Halifax and Truro.
"We are very confident in Halifax and Truro as hosts for this event," said Hockey Canada president Scott Smith. "They have a proven track record of hosting events of this calibre and getting the chance to showcase the best female players in the world on Canadian ice is something young fans will remember for a long time."
The weeklong tournament will run from late March into early April, with games being played at Halifax's Scotiabank Centre and Truro's Rath Eastlink Community Centre.
The women's world tournament was played in Nova Scotia back in 2004 when Halifax and Dartmouth shared the games. Canada shut out the United States 2-0 in the gold medal game.
The Canadian team featured players like Hayley Wickenheiser and Cassie Campbell, and nearly 90,000 fans attended the tournament.
A pair of Nova Scotians have a strong chance to be in the Canadian lineup in 2020. Jill Saulnier of Halifax and Blayre Turnbull of Stellarton both played for Canada at the Olympics last year and are expected to be on the Canadian team at the 2019 world tournament in Finland.
"Blayre and I got phone calls two days ago saying we need you to come to Halifax for some big news," said Saulnier, a former Cornell University star who now plays professional hockey with the Montreal Canadiennes of the Canadian Women's Hockey League.
"We are so incredibly excited that Halifax and Truro have put in the effort and the energy into making this happen."
Turnbull compares the world tournament to the Olympics where Canada lost in the gold medal game in South Korea to their archrivals from the United States.
Saulnier and Turnbull remember watching the 2004 tournament and they expect to see a lot of young Nova Scotia girls in the stands in two years time.
"I know there is going to be a tonne of them here watching the games," said Turnbull, who left her home in Pictou County to play prep school hockey for Shattuck St. Mary's when she was a 16-year-old and is now in her fourth pro season with the Calgary Inferno.
"For them to be exposed to really high-level hockey is something that will be really exciting and they'll be looking forward to."
The announcement was held on the ice at Scotiabank Centre. The building has just gone through some major upgrades in preparation for the Memorial Cup tournament next spring.
For the town of Truro it is another big event coming to their arena. Hockey Canada hosted the World Junior A Challenge in Truro in 2017.
"I remember we had a lot of people who came up to me and say, 'I can't believe I'm in Truro,'" said Truro Mayor Bill Mills.
"They'll be saying the same things when we begin having our games for the women's hockey. We're extremely pleased that we have been chosen."
Canada has appeared in every gold medal game at the Women's World Hockey Championship, winning gold medals 10 times. But they haven't won it since 2012.