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By Jake Shoemaker

Despite the continued controversy swirling around Russia’s homophobic laws and their potential effects on athlete and national participation in the upcoming Olympic Games, the U.S. Women’s National Hockey Team is carrying out its Fall preparations as anticipated with its eyes on a gold medal. With limited opportunities available to play against the world’s fiercest competition since the U.S. took home gold at the IIHF World Championships back in April, the women will look to sharpen their skills and build their chemistry with the “Bring on the World Tour.” The Tour will feature three games against Canada and another set of games at the 2013 Four Nations Cup.

Fans can watch the Olympic gold medal favorite Americans take on their rivals to the north in three locations across the country. The two nations will play in Burlington, VT on October 12, Grand Forks, ND on December 20, and St. Paul, MN on December 28. With all three of the games taking place in border states, tickets to the potential gold medal match preview are expected to sell-out quickly.

The Four Nations Cup, which will take place at the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, NY, will include the United States, Canada, Sweden and Finland. The Americans will open up with Sweden on November 5 before taking on Canada on the 6th and finally Finland on the 8th. All four teams will return to action on the 9th for the Third Place Game and the Championship Game.

In the meantime, the National Team, led by Harvard University coach Katey Stone, will make its home at The Edge Sports Center in Bedford, MA. Final Olympic selections will reduce the roster from 25 to 21 athletes in late December.

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