Team Canada jersey more than just about hockey

There will be special meaning to the third jersey worn by Tessa Bonhomme and her teammates with the Canadian national women’s hockey team when they open the upcoming world championship in Ottawa.

Bonhomme, along with fellow 2010 Olympic champions Gillian Apps, Meghan Agosta and Jayna Hefford this week unveiled the Livestrong Team Canada jersey to kick off a “Fight With Us” campaign involving corporate partners Nike and Sport Chek.

Bonhomme, a 27-year-old defenceman from Sudbury, Ont., is an ambassador to the Livestrong Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to uniting, inspiring and empowering people affected by cancer.

The Canadian team will wear the black and yellow jersey and uniform colours when it starts the eight-day tournament April 2.

“Cancer will strike one in two men and one in three women in our lifetime,” Nike Livestrong Foundation general manager Joe Monahan said in a news release. “The women’s world championship presents an amazing opportunity to celebrate the Livestrong movement in Canada.”

The limited edition jersey and other Livestrong apparel can be purchased at Sport Chek and Sports Expert locations across Canada.

“It still has the Canadian logo, but it means just a little bit extra, and we are sort of rallying around all those people we want to play for that night,” said Hefford, 35, a five-foot-five forward who has played for the national team since 1996.

Nike has helped raise $100 million for the Livestrong Foundation, which has invested more than $625,000 in Canadian organizations and programs to serve cancer survivors.

“Hockey Canada and Team Canada have had a strong partnership with Nike for nearly 20 years,” said Canada women’s hockey coach Dan Church. “We have seen how their ongoing commitment to the Livestrong Foundation has made a real and undeniable different in the fight against cancer.”

Canada will play in Pool A with Switzerland, the United States and Finland. Games against each country will be played at Scotiabank Place, home of the National Hockey League’s Senators.

Pool B consists of Russia, Germany, Sweden and the Czech Republic. The top two teams in each will advance to the playoffs, with the gold medal game scheduled for April 9.

The Canadians won their ninth gold last spring in Burlington, Vt., defeating the Americans 5-4 in overtime in the championship contest.

Canada’s Geraldine Heaney scored the winning goal in the final game at the inaugural world championship held in Ottawa in 1990. Kitchener, Ont. (1997), Mississauga, Ont. (2000), Halifax (2004) and Winnipeg (2007) also have hosted the event, with Canada winning each time.

The Canadian squad’s training camp for the 2013 worlds will be held March 26-31 in Petawawa in the Ottawa Valley.

Canada will play Sweden in a pre-tourney game March 30 in Pembroke, Ont.

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