Canada’s national women’s ice hockey team are set to play a 24-game schedule as part of their preparations for their Olympic title defence at Pyeongchang 2018.
Billed the "Where the Journey Begins" series, Canada’s 28-play centralised squad will take part in the Alberta Midget Hockey League over the next four months.
The move is aimed as seeing the Canadian team face the league’s top players, across a variety of communities, as they hone their preparations.
Canada's women's team previously competed in the league, which features boys teams comprised of players aged 15 to 18, in the build-up to Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014.
Nine of the matches will be considered home ties for the national team, with action being held at the Markin MacPhail Centre in Calgary.
For each of the home games, a total of CAD$7.50 (£4.50/$6/€5) from each CAD$10 (£6/$8.10/€6.70) ticket will directly support the local minor hockey association.
It is hoped the initiative will have an impact on promoting grassroots hockey.
"Our play against the Alberta Midget Hockey League is instrumental in our team’s preparation for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games and wouldn’t be possible without the support of the League and its players," said Melody Davidson, general manager of national women’s team programmes.
"This series is a great opportunity for fans across Alberta to be part of Team Canada’s journey to Pyeongchang and the support we receive from communities across Alberta will certainly fuel our team as it moves forward."
The League features a total of 18 teams, with the Canadian team having already begun their preparations by competing in the pre-season Icebreaker Tournament, due to conclude tomorrow.
Bobby Olynyk, vice-president, Alberta Midget Hockey League, expressed his hope the partnership would help the Canadian team and his competition thrive.
“The Alberta Midget Hockey League is once again looking forward to partnering with Canada’s National Women’s Team in its quest to bring home Olympic gold,” he said.
"Each of the 18 scheduled league games, which are for two points in the standings, will be a challenge and the league is honoured and thanks Hockey Canada for making us part of this exciting event.
"Great memories will come out of this series for the players as they move forward in their careers."
Canada’s are also scheduled to compete at the Four Nations Cup from November 5 to 12 featuring the United States, Finland and Sweden.
They will hope the preparations will aid their efforts to secure a fifth consecutive Olympic title at Pyeongchang 2018.
It is expected that the US will be their biggest rivals at the Games having edged out their Olympic champions at this year’s World Championships.