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U.S. women’s world championship roster: Kendall Coyne Schofield returns, college stars debut


U.S. women’s world championship roster: Kendall Coyne Schofield returns, college stars debut

Former captain Kendall Coyne Schofield will make her return to the U.S. women’s hockey team as part of the 25-player roster for the 2024 IIHF Women’s World Championship.

USA Hockey announced the roster — with 15 forwards, seven defenders and three goalies — Sunday morning after a four-day evaluation camp in Lake Placid, N.Y. It will be Coyne Schofield’s first international tournament since the 2022 world championships in Denmark, after which she took time off to have her son, Drew, who was born in July 2023.

The roster is a great blend of experience with players like Hilary Knight, the all-time leading scorer in women’s worlds history, and elite young talent — eight players on the roster played in the NCAA national championship game last week.

“The team we’ve selected brings pedigree and excitement to the ice,” said coach John Wroblewski. “We’re confident in this group and are excited to compete for gold on home soil.”

Five players have made the roster for their first senior world championships. Forwards Kirsten Simms (19), Laila Edwards (20), and Joy Dunne (18); defender Sydney Morrow (19); and goalie Gwyneth Philips (23). This is the first senior national team for Dunne and Philips.

Grace Zumwinkle will also return to the national team for the first time since the 2022 worlds. She was cut from the 2023 roster, and is back in the fold after a strong start to her professional career with PWHL Minnesota — she leads the team with nine goals and 16 points in 19 games.

Those seven players are the additions to a roster that won gold at last year’s world championships and there are a few notable subtractions. Abby Roque, who has been on the national team since 2021, was not invited to tryouts for this year’s worlds roster. Gabbie Hughes, who won gold last year in her first tournament, was among the cuts from the evaluation camp.

The 10-team tournament will begin on April 3 in Utica, N.Y. Team USA will open the tournament on April 3 against Switzerland, face Czechia on April 5 and play Finland on April 6 before a rivalry game against Team Canada on April 8.

Team USA women’s world championship roster

Forwards (15): Hilary Knight, Kendall Coyne Schofield, Alex Carpenter, Hayley Scamurra, Kelly Pannek, Taylor Heise, Abbey Murphy, Hannah Bilka, Grace Zumwinkle, Lacey Eden, Britta Curl, Kirsten Simms, Laila Edwards, Joy Dunne, Tessa Janecke

Defenders (7): Megan Keller, Caroline Harvey, Savannah Harmon, Cayla Barnes, Rory Guilday, Haley Winn, Sydney Morrow

Goalies (3): Aerin Frankel, Nicole Hensley, Gwyneth Philips

The youth movement

Since Wroblewski took over the national team in 2022, we’ve seen a fair bit of turnover on the U.S. roster with many young players being brought into the fold. This year is no exception, and this roster is exciting on paper.

Of the new faces, Simms and Philips were first-team All-Americans this season in the NCAA. Simms (Wisconsin) led the country in scoring with 33 goals and 75 points in 39 games and was a top-three finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award. Philips (Northeastern) posted a .955 save percentage and 1.17 goals against average and was a top-10 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier.

Morrow (Colgate) was named to the second team and was the top-scoring defender in the country with 13 goals and 39 points in 34 games as a second-year transfer to the Raiders.

Dunne (Ohio State) was named the national rookie of the year after scoring 24 goals and 42 points in 39 games as a freshman with the Buckeyes. In the national championship game, tied 0-0 with seven minutes remaining, Dunne scored the game-winning goal to lead Ohio State to its second-ever national championship.

Edwards (Wisconsin) was top-10 in scoring on a deep Badgers team and will become the first Black woman to play for Team USA at a world championships.

Other college players who have already been on the national team include forwards Murphy (Minnesota), Eden (Wisconsin), Bilka (Ohio State) Curl (Wisconsin) and Janecke (Penn State); and defenders Harvey (Wisconsin), Winn (Clarkson), Barnes (Ohio State) and Guilday (Cornell). Though Barnes and Bilka just played out their final year of eligibility with the championship-winning Buckeyes. Curl, the Badgers captain, has too.

Harvey is one of the best players in the world already at 21 years old. She’s a dynamic offensive defender and an incredible skater. Her 14 points at last year’s worlds were the most ever by a defender at a single tournament and she’s already top-10 in all-time scoring at worlds among defenders with 25 points in 20 games. Barnes has been a mainstay on the team since the 2018 Winter Olympics and led the NCAA with a plus-71 rating this season. Murphy led the nation with 33 goals, Eden was tied for fourth (27), while Curl is coming off a career year with 62 points in 41 games.

Whether they are new or returning, Team USA is stacked with dynamic, accomplished, young players. During the 2023-24 Rivalry Series, with the college players in the lineup, the U.S. team often looked faster and more dangerous than Canada with the puck. However, Canada completed the reverse sweep to win the rivalry series.

There is a fair question still of how a roster with seven new or returning players will look. And if the roster is too young. But this is what the U.S. program should be doing two years out from the Olympics — bringing in the next generation of American stars and getting them ready for the biggest stage.

It just so happens that this next generation won spots in camp and can realistically give Team USA a chance to win.

Who should we know from the PWHL?

Mixed in with all the college players are elite veterans currently playing pro in the PWHL.

Carpenter (New York) has been one of the best goal scorers her entire career, and now she’s one of the top scorers in the PWHL with eight goals and 19 points in 19 games. Keller (Boston) is second among defenders in scoring.

Heise (Minnesota) made her U.S. debut with a bang, winning tournament MVP in 2022, and was the first-overall pick in the PWHL draft in September 2023. Pannek (Minnesota) and Scamurra (Ottawa) are excellent depth players who can provide secondary scoring on the U.S. roster while taking on tough matchups and penalty-kill minutes.

While Hensley (Minnesota) is among the top goalies in the league with a 1.79 goals against average and a .933 save percentage. Frankel (Boston), who was Team USA’s starter last year, isn’t far behind with a 2.08 goals against average and .927 save percentage.

Kendall Coyne Schofield returns

It’s nice to see Coyne Schofield back on Team USA after maternity leave. After taking the first few weeks of the PWHL season to adjust to elite hockey again, she’s been good in the last month or so. In her last six games before the league’s international break, she had eight points to help PWHL Minnesota win five straight games and sit comfortably in second place.

We all know about Coyne Schofield’s speed, which will help Team USA attack Canada — and other opponents — from the wing. But she’s also an excellent playmaker with great hands and a vision for finding her teammates.

Heading into the tournament, Coyne Schofield sits fourth all time in assists at worlds (41 in 51 games) behind Hayley Wickenheiser (49 in 61 games). At the 2022 worlds, Coyne Schofield had 10 assists, so the record could be in reach. If she could tally half that, she could move into second, passing Caroline Ouellette’s 45 assists in 59 games.

Required reading

(Photo of Kendall Coyne Schofield: Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

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