August 19, 2011

Birchard Selected to Canada's National Women's Team

CALGARY, AlbertaCourtney Birchard, a four-year letterwinner on the University of New Hampshire women's ice hockey team, was named to Canada's National Women's Team that will compete at the upcoming 2011 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) 8 Nations Women's Tournament in Vierumäki, Finland. The announcement was made recently by Hockey Canada. 

Birchard, who graduated from UNH in May 2011 with a degree in Education, is one of the Wildcats' all-time top point producers among defensemen as she tallied 81 points (34 goals, 47 assists) in 117 games spanning the 2008-11 seasons. The 34 goals are fifth among blue liners and she is 12th on the points list. Birchard ranked third on the 2011 team in both points and goals and tied for third in plus/minus en route to garnering Hockey East First Team All-Star honors for the second consecutive year.

The Mississauga, Ontario native garnered AWCHA All-America Second Team recognition in 2010, when she ranked fifth in the nation in defensemen scoring, 16th in game-winning goals and 17th in power-play goals. Birchard led New Hampshire to three consecutive NCAA tournament appearances that included advancement to the Frozen Four in 2008. 

Birchard is the youngest member and one of six defensemen on the 19-player Canadian squad that will compete at the IIFH 8 Nations Women's Tournament. During her senior season at UNH, Birchard skated in two tournaments as a representative of Hockey Canada. In November 2010, she skated for the National Team at the Four Nations Cup and won a gold medal. Most recently, Birchard took home a gold medal as a member of the Women's National Under-22 Team at the MLP Cup in January 2011.

Canada opens the tournament Aug. 24 against Switzerland and will also face off against Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and the United States in the round-robin event. The tourney concludes Sept. 3.

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