The IIHF 2017 Women’s World Championship kicks off on Friday, March 31. This year’s tournament is being held in Plymouth, Michigan, just 25 miles west of Detroit.
“It’s great to welcome the world to our country for the Women’s World Championship,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. “While it’s always special to host, this year is particularly unique for fans as they’ll get to see the same players they’ll watch in 10 months during the Winter Olympics, in person at USA Hockey Arena.”
The teams competing to claim the championship include USA, Canada, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Germany. Seven of those countries are also represented in the officiating lineup for the tournament, as are two non-competing countries: Japan, Norway Slovakia, and Slovenia.
Allen, Dina (USA)
Ariano-Lortie, Gabrielle (Canada)
Celarova, Nikoleta (Slovakia)
Eskola, Anna Maria (Switzerland)
Fialova, Drahomira (Switzerland)
Gran, Gabriella (Sweden)
Hertrich, Nicole (Germany)
Hove, Aina (Norway)
Nakayama, Miyuki (Japan)
Szkola, Melissa (USA)
Angerer, Bettina (Austria)
Johansson, Veronica (Sweden)
Kudelova, Michaela (Slovakia)
Leclerc, Jessica (USA)
Linnek, Lisa (Germany)
Novotna, Ilona (Czech Republic)
Pagon, Natasa (Slovenia)
Tauriainen, Johanna (Finland)
Todd, Justine (Canada)
Germany’s Nicole Hertrich is officiating her seventh World Championship; she also refereed the 2014 and 2010 Olympics. Noway’s Aina Hove is working her sixth, in addition to two Olympics. Johanna Tauriainen is the most experienced linesman, with this her fifth World Championship
Referee Melissa Szkola (USA) and linesmen Jessica Leclerc (USA) and Justine Todd (Canada) are all making their first World Championship appearances. All three worked the 2016 Women’s Under-18 World Championship, as did linesmen Bettina Angerer and Lisa Linnek.
Japan’s Miyuki Nakayama, making her World Championship debut as a referee, worked the lines in 2008, 2009, and at the 2010 Olympics.
Germany’s Nicole Hertrich and linesman Veronica Johansson have worked the last two gold medal games. They were joined by Anna Maria Eskola and Johanna Tauriainen in 2016, both of whom are returning this year.
Hertrich has worked the gold medal game in five of her seven previous World Championships.
Referee Gabrielle Ariano-Lortie and linesman Ilona Novotna have both worked the past two bronze matches.
Team USA has won three straight Gold Medals at the IIHF Women’s World Champion. All-time, Team Canada holds the most Golds, with 10 to USA’s six. No other team outside of North America has won a gold or silver in the Women’s World Championship. Sweden, Finland, and Russia have all claimed the bronze in the past, with the Russians to most recent to reach the podium.
Interestingly, while USA has won the Women’s World Championship seven times, it’s never happened on American soil. Their Gold Medal victories came in Sweden (2005), China (2008), Finland (2009), Switzerland (2011), Ottawa (2013), Sweden (2015), and Kamloops, BC (2016). The tournaments held in Lake Placid, NY (1994), Minneapolis,MN, (2001), and Burlington, VT (2012), were all won by Canada.
The 22-game tournament begins Friday, March 31, with the Medal Games slated for Friday, April 7.