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A team-by-team look at the women's world hockey championship field

A capsule look at the 10 teams competing in the 2022 women's world ice hockey championship in Herning and Frederikshavn, Denmark. Listed in order of finish in Calgary in 2021.
Team United States goalkeeper Alex Cavallini (33) makes a save as Team Canada forward Natalie Spooner (24) looks on during first period women's hockey gold medal game action at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing on February 17, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

A capsule look at the 10 teams competing in the 2022 women's world ice hockey championship in Herning and Frederikshavn, Denmark. Listed in order of finish in Calgary in 2021.


The reigning world and Olympic champion is back on top after years of giving up ground to archrival United States in their constant tug of war for international supremacy. Brianne Jenner, named most valuable player of the Olympic tournament, and captain and golden-goaler Marie-Philip Poulin lead the defending champions into Herning.


A third head-coaching change in less than two years for the Americans. John Wroblewski replaced Joel Johnson in June after Wroblewski spent two years behind the bench of the Ontario Reign, the ECHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings. The Americans are minus forward Brianna Decker, who broke her leg and tore ligaments during the Olympic tournament. With 80 career world championship points, Hilary Knight is poised to surpass Canadian Hayley Wickenheiser's 86 for most all-time.


The Finns return 19 players from the bronze-medal teams in Beijing's Olympic Games and last year's world championship in Calgary. Pasi Mustonen, who coached the Finns to world championship silver in 2019, had planned to pass the head-coaching reins to Juuso Toivola for this season. That happened sooner than planned during February's Olympic tournament because a family illness called Mustonen home. Defender Jenni Hiirikoski's 14th career world championship will be an IIHF record. She holds the record for games played (75).


Top scorer Alina Mueller was sidelined during last year's world championship with a tournament-ending ankle injury in Game 2. She led the Swiss in Olympic team in scoring with six goals and four assists in seven games. Coached by Toronto's Colin Muller, Switzerland's stated goal in Denmark is to win the bronze medal. The country's best result was bronze in 2012.


The Japanese slide into the A Pool among the top five seeds because of Russia's ejection. Sixth in both Beijing and Calgary, Japan will take its lumps in games against Canada and the U.S. Chiho Osawa announced her retirement earlier this month after almost a decade as captain. Haruka Toko led Japan in Olympic scoring with three goals and three assists in five games.


Coached by two-time Canadian Olympic gold medallist Carla MacLeod, the Czechs' ace is goaltender Klara Peslarova. She was named top goaltender of the Olympic women's hockey tournament in February. She's faced the last three penalty shots taken in the world championship (2017, 2019, 2021) and stopped all of them. The Czechs split a close two-game series with the Finns in July winning 3-2 and falling 4-3.


Their best result was fourth in 2017, but the Germans haven't otherwise made much headway into the world's top tier in the last decade. They finished eighth in Calgary and didn't make it out of qualifying to the Olympic Games. Nina Christof had a strong world championship debut in Calgary at age 18 with a pair of goals.


Montreal-born Pat Cortina coaches the Hungarians and former Canadian team defender Delaney Collins is his assistant. Fanni Garát-Gasparics led the team in scoring in Calgary with four goals in four games. 


No relegation in Calgary last year meant Denmark could make a pitch to host the women's championship for the first time. The buoyed Danes then won a qualifying tournament to make their Olympic debut and beat Czechia there 3-2 for their lone win in Beijing. Goaltender Cassandra Repstock-Romme stopped 50 of the 54 shots she faced throughout the world championship in Calgary. 


Based on its No. 8 world ranking, the Swedes replace Russia, which is banned by the International Ice Hockey Federation because of that country's invasion of Ukraine. The Swedes won an Olympic silver medal in 2006, but were relegated in the 2019 world championship. The pandemic prevented them from playing their way back in via lower-division championships. National team players also settled a contract dispute with their federation in 2019.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 24, 2022.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press