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Canada's Olympic women's hockey team releases three players

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CALGARY — Defender Jamie Bourbonnais and forwards Jessie Eldridge and Julia Gosling have been released from the Canadian Olympic women's hockey team.

Canada's centralization roster decreased to 26 with three more skaters to be cut to get down to the Olympic roster of 23 for February's Winter Olympics in Beijing.

"This is an incredibly difficult decision to make as Jaime, Jessie and Julia have committed themselves to a high level of excellence in vying for a spot on Canada’s Olympic team,” said Hockey Canada director of hockey operations Gina Kingsbury said Friday in a statement. 

“Hockey Canada and our staff thank each of them for the impact they had and will continue to have on our program.”

Twenty-nine players centralized in Calgary in July to begin preparing for the Olympic Games. 

Bourbonnais of Mississauga, Ont., was on the roster of Canada's world championship team that won gold Aug. 31 in Calgary.

Gosling of London, Ont., was the youngest invited to centralization at age 20.

Eldridge of Barrie, Ont., was a late addition to the centralization roster in July.

The Olympic team is expected to be finalized later this month.

The Canadian women will play a Professional Women's Hockey Players' Association (PWHPA) all-star team Dec. 9 and Dec. 11 in Calgary, followed by games against the U.S. women in St. Louis, Mo., on Dec. 15 and Dec. 17, and Dec. 20 in St. Paul, Minn.

Canada caps its Rivalry Series against the Americans at home Jan. 3 in Edmonton during the men's world under-20 championships there, and Jan. 6 in Red Deer.

Canada fell 3-2 in a shootout to the U.S. in the 2018 gold-medal game in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The Canadian women open the 2022 Winter Games on Feb. 3 against Switzerland.

 This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2021.

The Canadian Press