LAKE PLACID - With the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi Russia less than eight months away, the United States Women's National Hockey team is taking a big step toward working its way back to the top of the podium.
Under head coach Katey Stone, who leads the women's ice hockey program at Harvard University, the Americans are holding a camp in Lake Placid this week to select the team that will compete for Olympic gold in Russia.
The selection camp runs through Sunday and includes multiple on- and off-ice practice sessions along with four scrimmages. Matchups between the Blue and White teams will be held today and Thursday, with the final two scrimmages taking place Saturday and Sunday. All four games will be held in the Olympic Center's 1980 Herb Brooks Arena and start at 4 p.m.
Forty-one of the top women's players from across the nation, including a dozen Olympic veterans, have been invited to the camp and will be evaluated during the week by the coaching staff. The roster for the U.S. Women's National Team will then be announced on Monday, and the players who make the cut will stay in Lake Placid for two more days of training.
The U.S. won the gold medal in 1998 when women's ice hockey was added to the Olympics, but since then, rival Canada has emerged as the gold medalists in the past three Olympics, including the 2010 Vancouver Games. The U.S. most recently captured first place in the 2013 IHF World Championships.
All of this week's practice sessions and games are open to the public. Saturday's game is part of the Olympic Day Celebration taking part during the afternoon in Lake Placid. Fans donned in red, white and blue or USA Hockey apparel will be admitted free to Saturday's game. There will also be an autograph session with the players following the contest.