Breaking through another “first” for the Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL), the Calgary Inferno will travel to Tomakomai, Japan in January, 2017 to play the Japanese Women’s National Team.
The Inferno will play against the island nation on January 27 and 28, 2017. Calgary’s visit will be part of the Japanese team’s preparation for Olympic qualifier games set to take place in February.
“We’re really excited about this opportunity,” stated Inferno Head Coach, Scott Reid. “Playing Japan will be a good experience for the girls, and we can’t take them lightly. They’ve been training hard and we were happy to be invited as part of their preparation for the upcoming tournament.”
Team Japan currently sit in seventh place in the IIHF World Women’s Ice Hockey rankings, and are looking to secure a birth in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea and Japan will host the qualification tournament with Germany (8), Austria (11) and France (12) facing off from February 9-12, 2017 for the final available slot at the games.
This is not the first time the two teams have faced off against each other in recent years. In November 2015, Team Japan visited North America on a development tour and faced off against Calgary for an exhibition game with Calgary recording a win.
Calgary will take an almost complete squad to Japan, including all three goaltenders, five defence and 12 forwards. Currently, the Inferno play home to 14 members of the National Women’s Program who have met Japan in international play.
Two current Inferno will done opposing colours for the game including blueliner Aina Takechu, currently a member of Team Japan and rookie defenseman Akane Hosoyamada also likely to suit up for the two game series. Another familiar CWHL face will also greet the Inferno as Toronto Furies and 2016 CWHL All-Star Sena Suzuki will represent Team Japan.