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PWHPA to play Dream Gap Tour stop in Japan

UPDATE: On Feb. 24, the PWHPA announced they would be postponing their trip.

UPDATE: On Feb. 24, the PWHPA announced they would be postponing their trip to the 2020-2021 season due to the coronavirus outbreak growing worse in the region.

This week, the PWHPA announced their farthest Dream Gap Tour stop: Tokyo, Japan.

The organization will send 18 players and three coaches for a week to play in a three-game series against the Japanese National Team. They’ll play on March 4 at 19:00 Japan Standard Time (5 a.m. Eastern Standard Time), March 5 at 19:00 JST (5 a.m. EST), and March 7 at 14:00 JST (midnight EST).

In an email to The Ice Garden, the PWHPA said streaming has not yet been confirmed for the games. They also confirmed the listed game times were Japanese local times.

The roster is a mix of Americans and Canadians.

Goaltenders: Nicole Hensley, Kimberley Sass, Alex Cavalinni
Defenders: Blake Bolden, Jacquie Greco, Katelyn Gosling, Savannah Harmon, Olivia Zafuto, Daniella Matteucci
Forwards: Amanda Kessel, Haley Scarupa, Reagan Haley, Genevieve Bannon, Dakota Woodworth, Annisa Gamble, Shae Labbe, Catherine Quirion, Gigi Marvin
Coaches: PJ Michael, Laura MacIntosh, Lauren Jukes

The National Team reached out to the PWHPA about the series to help the team prepare for the 2020 World Championships in April. “The PWHPA is excited to be able to help grow the women’s game in Japan, and be a part of the preparation plan for the Japanese national team, leading into the World Championships,” Jayna Hefford, head of operations for the association, said in a press release.

The PWHPA then picked their team based on the players who “expressed interest and were available”, the organization told The Ice Garden. They will practice as a team and also have personal touring time.

Given that the March 1 Tokyo Marathon was downgraded to elite runners only and other concerns in Japan surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, the PWHPA said they are monitoring the situation and consulting with appropriate government agencies. “We will always ensure player safety is the main priority,” they said.