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August USA Hockey training camps will feature a dozen future, current and former Gophers women

In all, 15 with ties to the Gophers women's hockey program were invited to Buffalo to try out and train for international competition in Denmark and Canada, and 12 will attend.

Ice Hockey - Women's Play-offs Semifinals - United States vs Finland
Hannah Brandt (20) and Lee Stecklein celebrate their third goal scored by Hayley Scamurra of the United States in a semifinal win over Finland at the Beijing Olympics on Monday, Feb. 14, 2022.
Brian Snyder / Reuters

MINNEAPOLIS — It has been said that trying to get work done in Europe in August is folly, as everyone is on vacation then. Likewise, the Minnesota Gophers women’s hockey team need not try to schedule a captain’s practice next month, as roughly half their roster will be striving toward bigger things.

On Tuesday, USA Hockey named 12 current, former or future Gophers among the 116 athletes scheduled to participate in the 2022 USA Hockey Women's National Festival in Buffalo. The event, which takes place from Aug. 8-13, will serve as a pre-camp before the 2022 U.S. Women’s National Team, U.S. Under-18 Select Team and Collegiate Select Team are officially named on Sunday, Aug. 14.

The 32-woman roster will be narrowed down to 23 at the festival in August. Players will be competing for a roster spot on Team USA.

The eight current Gophers headed to western New York are Taylor Heise, Peyton Hemp, Madison Kaiser, Abbey Murphy, Makayla Pahl, Catie Skaja, Madeline Wethington and Grace Zumwinkle. They will join four Minnesota alumni – Hannah Brandt, Amanda Kessel, Kelly Pannek and Lee Stecklein. In all, USA Hockey invited 15 with Gophers ties to participate, but Abigail Boreen, Megan Bozek and Gracie Ostertag were unable to attend the camp.

010821.Heise
Minnesota Gophers forward Taylor Heise, a Lake City native who starred at Red Wing High School, was named the 2022 Patty Kazmaier Award winner, given annually to the nation's top women's college hockey player.
Jim Rosvold / University of Minnesota Athletics

“The opportunity for players across all levels to come together for this year’s National Festival is exciting,” said Katie Million, director of the women’s national team program for USA Hockey, in a statement released by the school. “Having players competing against each other in game settings as we evaluate and prepare for international competition, will only make our program stronger as we move into this season’s calendar.”

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The U.S. Women's National Team Festival will take place at LECOM Harborcenter in Buffalo, which is the practice rink for the NHL’s Sabres and the home rink for Canisius. The National Team will compete at the IIHF Women’s World Championship in Herning and Frederikshavn, Denmark from Aug. 25-Sept. 5, while the select teams will head to Calgary and each play a three-game series against Canada on Aug. 17, 18 and 20.

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The U.S. Women’s National Team will host its pre-camp immediately following the conclusion of the Festival at the Harborcenter from Aug. 14-17, before traveling to Denmark.

The Gophers will begin defense of their 2022 WCHA regular season crown on Oct. 7-8 with a two-game home series versus in-state rival Bemidji State.

Jess Myers covers college hockey, as well as outdoors, general sports and travel, for The Rink Live and the Forum Communications family of publications. He came to FCC in 2018 after three decades of covering sports as a freelancer for a variety of publications, while working full time in politics and media relations. A native of Warroad, Minn. (the real Hockeytown USA), Myers has a degree in journalism/communications from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He lives in the Twin Cities. Contact Jess via email at jrmyers@forumcomm.com, or find him on Twitter via @JessRMyers. English speaker.
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