When Hockey Canada named its centralization roster for Canada's women's hockey team, in preparation of the Sochi Winter Games, it was surprising not to see Ann-Sophie Bettez and Cathy Chartrand among the names.
Based on the results of Canada’s loss in the gold medal game at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship, Bettez and Chartrand could have served as a solution to the problem.
Of note, both are former members of the Canadian national women’s team. Therefore, both would have brought remarkable experience and leadership. Bettez is a gifted scorer while Chartrand is an intimidating presence on the blueline with the ability for offensive flair.
With Canada looking to win the gold at Sochi 2014, 27 players have been named to the centralization roster. With a training camp throughout the summer and autumn of 2013 that will be used to evaluate talent, the exclusion of Bettez and Chartrand is questionable. Both have proven to be remarkable assets for their club team, the Montreal Stars of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.
Their productivity in the 2012-13 CWHL season was impressive. Bettez won the CWHL rookie scoring race while ranking second overall among all skaters, respectively. Chartrand was not only a defensive force on the Montreal Stars blueline, but she was tops among all defenders in scoring.
Towering at 5’11”, Chartrand is taller than any of the defenders named to Canada’s centralization roster (the tallest of the players named was Tara Watchorn at 5’9.5”). With the way that American skaters, like Brianna Decker and Amanda Kessel, shredded through Canada’s defense in the gold medal game, Chartrand would have been impenetrable.
In addition, she has helped the Canadian national team win gold at the Four Nations Cup and at the Winter Universiade. With pressure on Canadian defenders like Tessa Bonhomme, Meaghan Mikkelson and Catherine Ward (of which, none are even 30 years old), a proven winner like Chartrand would have alleviated many woes for them. Having also served a former captain with the McGill Martlets in Canadian Interuniversity Sport, Chartrand is a capable leader.
A key problem during the 2013 IIHF championship was scoring against the US. While Canada and the US are so evenly matched (and the first contest between them did go to a shootout), Canada was able to run up the score against other nations. The struggle with the US signifies that the offense must be even stronger.
The presence of Bettez (who is also the all-time leading scorer in McGill Martlets history) would have served as a wake-up call to the others on the team. With the retirement of Sarah Vaillancourt, one of Canada’s leading scorers at the 2013 IIHF campionship, Bettez would have been the perfect choice to fill her shoes.
While Bettez and Chartrand are just another in a long list of Canadian women’s hockey stars that were not invited (Erin Ambrose, Christine Bestland, Emmanuelle Blais and Jamie-Lee Rattray deserved consideration), the powers that be have made a statement that they are comfortable with what they have. Canadian hockey fans can only hope that this level of comfort will not backfire at Sochi.