The eyes of the women's hockey world will turn to Europe this week for the 2015 Four Nations Cup, where 32 current and former Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) players – representing seven member institutions – will be competing for the United States, Canada, Finland and host Sweden.
Twelve players with WCHA ties are among the 23-player USA Hockey roster. Bemidji State senior forward Stephanie Anderson (North St. Paul, Minn.), a member of the gold medal-winning 2015 U.S. Women's National Team at the IIHF Women's World Championship, is the lone active WCHA player on the roster. She will be joined up front by fellow 2015 gold medalist Zoe Hickel (Minnesota Duluth), Wisconsin alumni and Team USA veterans Brianna Decker (the 2015 USA Hockey Bob Allen Women's Player of the Year), Meghan Duggan and Hilary Knight, along with former North Dakota star Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson. The U.S. blue line will feature former Minnesota defensemen Megan Bozek, Gigi Marvin and Anne Schleper, along with UND alumna Monique Lamoureux. Two of the three U.S. goaltenders are Wisconsin products in former Badger greats Alex Rigsby and Jessie Vetter.
Eight WCHA products will try to help Canada defend its Four Nations Cup title. Forwards Emily Clark (Wisconsin), Sarah Nurse (Wisconsin) and Sarah Potomak (Minnesota), along with defenseman Halli Krzyzaniak (North Dakota) will take a break from the 2015-16 WCHA season to compete for their home country. Clark and Krzyzaniak were members of Canada's silver medal team at the 2015 IIHF Women's World Championship, while Nurse and Potomak will be making their national team debuts. The former WCHA greats set to don the Canada sweater are defenseman Brigette Lacquette (Minnesota Duluth), along with forwards Sarah Davis (Minnesota), 2015 All-WCHA First Team performer Blayre Turnbull (Wisconsin) and 2014 Olympic gold medalist Natalie Spooner (Ohio State).
Team Finland will feature seven WCHA players. Current North Dakota freshmen Anna Kilponen (defenseman) and Vilma Tanskanen (forward) will join fellow WCHA rookie Suvi Ollikainen, a forward from St. Cloud State. Former UND forwards Michelle Karvinen and Susanna Tapani will skate up front, while former Minnesota defenseman Mira Jalosuo will help in front of goaltender (and fellow Gopher) Noora Räty.
Five players with WCHA ties will skate for host Sweden. Current Minnesota Duluth sophomore Maria Lindh and former UMD great Pernilla Winberg are forwards, while past WCHA stars Jenni Asserholt (Minnesota Duluth), Johanna Fällman (North Dakota) and Annie Svedin (Ohio State) are blue-liners.
The 2015 Four Nations Cup will take place Nov. 4-8 in Sweden, with games to be held at the Engeri Arena in Sundsvall and the Anashallen Arena in Kovland.