CALGARY – The University of Calgary Dinos will have two more representatives at next month's 2015 Winter Universiade in Granada, Spain as Alexandra Vafina and Iya Gavrilova from the Dinos women's hockey team prepare to suit up for Team Russia.
The 27th biennial games will run from February 3-14, with the women's ice hockey final being played on the 13th.
Captaining the Dinos, Gavrilova has played in 22 games, scoring 34 points (19G, 15A). Vafina began to play with the team in January and has potted a goal and one assist in six games.
Neither Gavilrova or Vafina are new to wearing their national colours. Both suited up for Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi where the host country finished sixth.
The 2014 games were Vafina's second Olympic appearance having played in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Vafina has played in a total of 10 Olympic games and has a total of 3 points, two in 2010 and one in 2014.
Gavrilova has dressed for Russia at the 2006, 2010, and 2014 Winter Olympics. In 15 total games played at the Olympics, Gavrilova has a total of seven points, two points each coming from the 2006 and 2010 Olympics while notching three points in 2014 in Sochi.
Russia will play in Pool B with Canada and newcomer Kazakhstan. Russia will start the tournament on Feb. 6 against Kazakhstan before facing Canada in a rematch of last year's finals on Feb. 8 in preliminary action. Pool A holds four teams; U.S.A, Spain, China, and Japan. The top two teams from each pool after preliminary action will face off in the classification round, followed by the semifinals and gold medal game.
Gavrilova and Vafina will leave this Saturday to join Russia in Spain. Both Dinos' forwards will participate in Canada West action Friday evening against the University of Regina Cougars but will miss Saturday's rematch.
"I have mixed feelings about going because I don't want to miss my teammates and any regular season action here but it is an honour to represent my country and have this opportunity," explained Gavrilova.
Gavrilova and Vafina will also miss the last regular season games for the Dinos, next weekend (Feb. 6-7) against the University of Alberta Pandas.
"I believe in my teammates and know they will do great without us here. We have a good team, and they're excited for me as much as they'll miss me" stated Gavrilova.
With Russia playing Canada in the preliminary round, Gavrilova and Vafina will be facing off against current opponents from the CIS. Team Canada has three players from the Canada West Conference: Julia Flinton, Tess Houston and Jessica Kampjes.
"Our goal is first place, I know Canada will be a challenge, they are the defending champions. I'm not going to focus on or worry about who is on their team that I have played against in the Canada West conference. I'm just focusing on my game and playing for Russia," said Gavrilova.
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