LONDON, Ont. -- When it comes to international women's hockey, everyone knows about Canada and the U.S. This week, though, offers two chances to see the relative unknown as the Chinese Olympic team comes to town.
With 18 of the 25 players having been on the team that finished seventh at Vancouver 2010, the Chinese will play the Western Mustangs on Thursday at Thompson arena at 7 p.m. and the London Devilettes AA intermediates Friday at Nichols Arena at 7 p.m.
The Chinese are on a six-week trip to Southern Ontario, playing against university and intermediate minor hockey squads. China drew 3-3 with the Bluewater Hawks earlier this month in Strathroy and defeated the University of Toronto Blues -- Western's first road opponent this Saturday -- 3-1 on Sept. 30.
"They came over to train last year (before Vancouver) and when I heard they were coming back again this year I called and asked if they wanted a couple of games in London," Western head coach Chris Higgins said Tuesday. "I'm expecting it to be very close. They've beaten some good teams and they'll be quick and fast and have their systems down pat, but our girls will compete. The level they're playing at is about an average CIS (Canadian university) team."
That would be the Mustangs, who are 1-2 in the OUA.
"Actually, we've been worse than average for seven years, so to be considered average is actually an improvement," Higgins said, laughing. "But this game will be big for our season. We've been gearing toward it for weeks."
Tickets for both games are $5 at the door. Advance tickets for the Western game can be purchased by going to www.westernmustangs.ca and following the tickets link; those for the Devilettes game can be obtained by calling Brian Gosling at 519-657-2292 or e-mailing email@example.com -- and those with advance tickets for one game can get into the other game for $2.