Usual suspects

ADAM WAZNY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:42 AM ET

While her coach proclaimed it was time for the young players to move into more prominent roles, Danielle Goyette wasn't about to get out of the way just yet.

"When you get towards the end, you know the end is closer than the beginning," the 41-year-old Goyette said in Winnipeg yesterday after being named to Canada's final roster for the 2007 IIHF Women's World Hockey Championships. "Every time I get the call I want to prove to myself that I can do it. I've been evaluating myself for a long time and after every camp you know where you stand. I would never let myself go there and get cut because I'm not good enough.

"I have to work hard right now to be able to stay on the team, but you know what? I love that game so much."

The veteran, who will make her record ninth world championship appearance for Canada, is one of 20 players who received the good news from head coach Melody Davidson regarding their roster status this week. The line-up (12 forwards, six defencemen, and two goaltenders) will carry 17 players from the 2006 Olympic gold medal-winning team in Italy and 17 players with world championship experience.

As expected, Canada will have the usual suspects for WWHC, which goes April 3-10 in Winnipeg and Selkirk. Jennifer Botterill is on the team, as are fellow forwards Hayley Wickenheiser, Jayna Hefford, Cheryl Pounder and Vicky Sunohara. The defence will be led by veterans Cheryl Pounder, Gillian Ferrari, and Pilot Mound-product Delaney Collins, who is back on the roster after sitting out the Olympics as an alternate.

"If you look at our roster, we are offensive," said Davidson. "I would expect her to lead the way on that, whether it's hard work and creating scoring chances or if the puck finds the net. I know within our group if one person isn't finding the net, we have lots behind them."

Kim St.-Pierre and Charline Labonte will handle the goalkeeping duties. Players not on the roster include Cherie Piper (knee) and Becky Kellar, who is taking the winter off to have her second child.

Cracking the powerful Canadian line-up for her first major international tournament is 21-year-old Tessa Bonhomme. The Sudbury-born defenceman is one of several players Davidson singled out to take their games to the next level during the 10-day event.

"(She) will be a player to watch, she's been in our program for a while and this is her opportunity," said the coach, adding young forwards Meghan Agosta, Sarah Vaillancourt, and Gina Kingsbury will also be asked to take on increased responsibility.

Botterill feels the younger wave of national player -- either on the team or in the program -- is driving the older, more experienced players to not rest on the many successes of the past.

"You need to have those young players pushing you, so nobody is getting complacent," the 27-year-old said. "It's going to push us to train harder to make sure we're taking our games to the next level."

Three alternate players were also named yesterday, including Winnipeg goaltender Sami Jo Small. Canada has won the gold in eight out of nine world championships.


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