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Ohio State head coach guides the best of the U.S. in China
 
COLUMBUS, Ohio Jackie Barto, head coach of the Ohio State women’s hockey team, departed Tuesday morning with the U.S. National Team en route to China to compete in the 2008 World Women’s Championship, hosted by the International Ice Hockey Federation. Barto, who was named head coach of the U.S. National and Select Teams in June, will guide Team USA in one of the top women’s hockey events in the world, second only to the Olympics. The World Women’s Championships will be held April 4-12 in Harbin, China.

Barto has been at the headquarters of USA Hockey in Colorado Springs, Colo., for a week in preparation for the championships. After several days of camp, the 20-player roster was named March 28 and includes seven Olympians and 13 returnees from the 2007 U.S. Women’s National Team. Twelve players were members of NCAA teams during the 2007-08 season with five players from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, the conference in which the Buckeyes play.

The team flew Tuesday morning from Colorado to San Francisco. They then take off for Beijing, which is about a 12 hour flight. After a six-hour layover, the final leg of travel is an hour and a half flight to Harbin. As part of preparation for the championships, Team USA met with travel instructors to learn about foods and exercises that will lessen the impact of jetlag and help adjust to the 12-hour time difference.

Barto and Team USA will open the 2008 World Women’s Championship against Germany Friday at Baqu Arena. Qualifying will continue Sunday against Switzerland, followed by two more rounds April 8 and 10. The medal games will be held April 12. In the 10 previous World Women’s Championships, the U.S. has won one gold medal and nine silver medals. All Team USA games will be broadcast live on video through the USA Hockey Web site (www.usahockey.com).

Team USA 2008 IIHF World Women’s Championship Schedule
April 4-12 Harbin, China Baqu Arena

 Date  Opponent  Time (Local/EDT)
 Fri., April 4  Germany  3:30 p.m./3:30 a.m.
 Sun., April 6  Switzerland  3:30 p.m./3:30 a.m.
 Tues., April 8  Qualifying Round  TBA
 Thurs., April 10  Qualifying Round  TBA
 Sun., April 12  Bronze-Medal Game  3:30 p.m./3:30 a.m.
   Gold-Medal Game  7 p.m./7 a.m.