Saturday afternoon in Downtown LA, the two best women’s hockey programs in the world will face off at Crypto Arena for Game 2 of the 2023-24 Rivalry Series between USA and Canada.
Here are 7 things you need to know before puck drop:
1. On the international stage, there is no bigger rivalry than USA vs. Canada when it comes to women’s hockey. Not only is it something that goes back decades, these two teams have met in the gold medal game six of the seven times women’s hockey has been contested at the Olympics. Most, if not all, of the players on both USA and Canada rosters this weekend have either already played in the Olympics or will play in the upcoming 2026 Olympic games.
2. These two powerhouse programs also seem to always meet up at the IIHF World Championships. And this year’s Rivalry Series is considered a prelude to the next Women’s World Championship, which Team USA will be hosting in April 2024 in Utica, NY.
3. The Rivalry Series itself was introduced by USA Hockey and Hockey Canada in 2018-19 to provide additional visibility and showcase the best women’s hockey players in the world. Last year’s event was eventually won by Canada, but not before USA picked up three victories to open the series, including Game 3 at Seattle with an announced attendance of 14,551. Game 5 in Los Angeles needed overtime to decide things, with Canada skating to a 3-2 win. Thus, the Americans will be looking for revenge this weekend.
4. Game 1 of the 2023-24 Rivalry Series was played Wednesday night at Mullet Arena in Tempe. USA legend Hilary Knight recorded a goal and an assist, while goaltender Aerin Frankel made 35 saves, backstopping Team USA to a 3-1 victory. With Game 2 now set for LA on Saturday, this pair of games marks the first time the U.S. has played on home soil since winning the 2023 Women’s World Championship. That was the first World Championship for Team USA since 2019 and their 10th all time.
“Aerin was sharp and I really liked how we responded and learned some lessons, especially on that goal against,” said USA coach John Wroblewski of his team’s performance in Game 1. “I thought our special teams were solid and we had some awesome efforts from Hilary Knight once again.”
After this weekend’s game in Los Angeles, Games 3-6 will all be in Canada before a series finale in Minnesota on Sunday, Feb. 11.
5. SoCal native and former Jr. Kings player Cayla Barnes is expected to suit up for Team USA once again on Saturday. Over the summer, she transferred from Boston College (where she served as the captain for two seasons) to Ohio State. However, this weekend it’s all about the red, white, and blue. Standing just 5-foot-1, the slick defender opened the scoring at Crypto Arena during last year’s game, much to the delight of many in attendance.
“I thought the crowd was awesome, had a lot of energy,” Barnes said. “It’s the first time I got to play at home, so super fun. I had family and friends in the stands. So, it was a great experience overall.”
Barnes has been a fixture for Team USA on the international stage, including serving as captain of the 2016 U.S. Under-18 team, winning gold at the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea (while serving as the youngest player on the U.S. team at just 19 years old), and claiming silver at the 2022 Olympic Games in China.
6. Growing the overall game of hockey — including among families with children, especially young girls — is just as much a part of the Rivalry Series as the actual contests themselves. As such, Team USA will hold an open practice at Toyota Sports Performance Center in El Segundo on Friday from 11:30am – 1:00pm. With most schools closed in honor of Veteran’s Day, it’s a great opportunity for fans and youth hockey players to get up close and personally involved with several of the women who will be playing. As frequently noted surrounding the Rivalry Series, it’s important for young girls that play (or would like to learn to play the game of hockey) to see their peers doing what they love too. Ultimately, this leads to a higher likelihood of them sticking with it, and that helps grow the game; leading to an increase in quality and competitiveness over time.
7. Tickets are still available HERE for the Rivalry Series matchup on Saturday, Nov. 10. Portions of the proceeds from the game between USA and Canada will benefit the Kings Care Foundation, specifically programs to grow and support girls hockey in Los Angeles.
Mayor’s Manor will once again have a photographer on hand to capture all the action.
— The Mayor | Team MM (@mayorNHL) December 20, 2022
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