Aiming for gold

ANGELA MacISAAC -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:07 AM ET

Anything but gold is a disappointment.

This is women's hockey we're talking about and Canada's national team expects nothing less.

Cassie Campbell, captain of the 2002 gold medallists in Salt Lake City, said she always plays to win.

"Every year," she said. "But right now, our biggest challenge is to not look ahead to the Olympics and focus on the worlds.

"Every time we step on the ice -- it doesn't matter whether it's worlds, Four Nations or Olympics -- we want to win."

Team Canada has won all eight women's world championships and is bent on defending that reign in Linkoping, Sweden, in April.

It just held evaluation camp in Calgary last month and Campbell liked what she saw.

"There are some tough decisions going to be made," she said. "Young girls like Gillian Apps and Sarah Vaillancourt are going to push the veterans for their spots.

"Even Hayley Wickenheiser and I, we aren't safe."

Everyone knows who Canada's top competition at the worlds and Olympics will be.

The U.S., winners of the inaugural women's Olympic gold at the 1998 Nagano games, will be gunning for the Canucks, hankering to avenge the 2002 loss.

But the Canadians don't tire of seeing the Americans year after year.

"I think it's one of the best rivalries in hockey history," the 31-year-old Campbell said. "Every championship game has been back and forth. If you get tired of that, there's something wrong with you. It's such a high-quality game."


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