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Hilary Knight headlines U.S. women’s hockey roster for home world championship

Hilary Knight was named to the U.S. women’s hockey team to compete at a 14th world championship, while Olympic captain Kendall Coyne Schofield returns for her first worlds as a mom.

The U.S. roster for the April 3-14 worlds in Utica, New York, was named Sunday after a four-day evaluation camp.

At last April’s worlds, Knight scored a hat trick in a 6-3 win over Canada in the gold-medal game.

Before that, Canada beat the U.S. in three consecutive global finals -- 2021 and 2022 Worlds, plus the 2022 Olympics — plus was on an overall five-game win streak in the rivalry.

Knight, 34, is already the oldest U.S. Olympic women’s hockey player in history. She will become the oldest American woman to play at a worlds, breaking the record of her idol, Cammi Granato, who was a younger 34 at her last worlds in 2005.

Knight holds the career world championship records for points (101), goals (61) and gold medals (nine). At these worlds, she can break her tie with retired Canadian Hayley Wickenheiser for the most medals (currently 13).

Coyne Schofield, 31, returns after missing the 2023 Worlds on pregnancy leave. She had son Drew in July.

USA Hockey believes that Coyne Schofield would be the second American to return from childbirth to play at a world championship. Jenny Potter played in the 2002, 2006 and 2010 Olympics as a mom. She played at the 2007 Worlds less than three months after having her second child.

Others returned from childbirth to play for the national team in games outside of Olympics and world championships.

Younger players on the roster who emerged in recent years include 21-year-old defender Caroline Harvey, who led last year’s worlds with 14 points, and 24-year-old forward Taylor Heise, who led the tournament with 11 assists.

Goalie Aerin Frankel, who started six of the seven games at last year’s worlds, also returns.

Forward Laila Edwards can become the first Black woman to play for the U.S. at a worlds. Last November, she became the first Black woman to play for the senior national team in any game.

A notable absence is three-time Olympic medalist forward Amanda Kessel, who has not played for club or country this season. Kessel has been working in the Pittsburgh Penguins front office.

Maddie Rooney, the No. 1 goalie for the 2018 Olympic champion team, was not one of the six goalies at an evaluation camp this past week.

Rooney was cut from the 2023 World team and was not one of the three goalies to play in the seven-game rivalry series with Canada from November to February.

Lee Stecklein, a defender who played on every Olympic and world team dating to 2013, was also not at the evaluation camp. She had no comment when asked earlier this month if she was taking a break or retired from the national team.