OTTAWA - The Canadian women's hockey team will open defence of its world championship against archrival U.S. next year in Ottawa.
Canada edged the Americans 5-4 in overtime to win this year's world title in Burlington, Vt. It was Canada's first gold medal in the tournament since 2007.
The 2013 world championship is scheduled for April 2-9 and will be held at the Nepean Sportsplex and SBP Arena.
Canada and the U.S. are in Pool A with Switzerland and Finland. The Czech Republic, Russia, Germany and Sweden are in Pool B.
Canada and the U.S. square off April 2. The hosts take on Switzerland — this year's bronze medallists — on April 3 and conclude the preliminary round April 5 versus the Finns.
The women's tournament format was altered this year. The top two teams in Pool A earn byes to the semifinals. The bottom two face the top two from Pool B in the quarter-finals.
Both Hockey Canada and U.S.A. Hockey recently announced their head coaches for both the 2013 world championships and 2014 Winter Olympics.
Dan Church will be behind Canada's bench for both tournaments, while Katey Stone will coach the Americans.