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Ice Hockey - 15. September 2009.

2009-10 U.S. Womens National Team Begins Practice for Qwest Tour

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The 2009-10 U.S. Women’s National Team, fresh off winning the Hockey Canada Cup, has returned to the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn., and will conduct its first practice in preparation for the 10-game Qwest Tour today at 10 a.m. CT at the Schwan Super RInk.

The Qwest Tour kicks off in St. Paul, Minn., on Sept. 25 and ends just prior to the start of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

To provide the ultimate interactive fan experience, Qwest today launched Qwest All Access, a website that features an online, behind-the-scenes video series from U.S. teammates Erika Lawler (Fitchburg, Mass.), three-time member of the U.S. Women's National Team, and Angela Ruggiero (Simi Valley, Calif.), three-time Olympic medalist.

"Coming off of a great national team season, the Qwest Tour will allow us to further showcase our skills and give America a preview of what’s to come in Vancouver," said Ruggiero. "The Qwest All Access feature will give me an opportunity to share my passion and love for the game with fans across America. The content will be up close and personal so fans can get a real look at what goes on and know just what it feels like to be part of all the action."

“It has been an awesome couple of weeks," said Lawler. "Now it’s time to give hockey fans a taste of Qwest All Access, Erika Lawler-style. It’s exciting to be able to directly connect with our fans and show them what life on the road is really like.”

Qwest All Access will include weekly video podcasts that feature a behind-the-scenes look at life on the Qwest Tour. Fans can subscribe for free to the Qwest All Access online video series through iTunes, RSS or e-mail.

“Qwest is thrilled to get the Qwest Tour under way, and to connect fans direct with the Qwest Tour athletes," said Rich Karlis, director of sponsorship for Qwest. "We wish the team the best of luck on the Qwest Tour; we know they will make us proud.”

In addition to the online video series, Qwest All Access will feature the Qwest ‘Pic of the Game’ following each stop on the Qwest Tour. Fans can also connect with Team USA during the Qwest Tour at QwestTour.com and via text message alerts featuring player quotes, game scores, training tips and information on team appearances. To sign up for weekly text messages, text QTOUR to 95294 (standard text message rates NOTES: Erika Lawler, Angela Ruggiero and other members of the 2009-10 U.S. Women’s National Team will be available to speak with the media immediately following today’s practice at 12 p.m. CT for approximately 30 minutes ... The 2009-10 U.S. Women's National Team will utilize the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn., as its home base during preparations for the ABOUT THE QWEST TOUR

The Qwest Tour, presented by Qwest Communications, will feature the 2009-10 U.S. Women's National Team playing a 10-game domestic tour that begins Sept. 25 and ends just prior to the start of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C. During that time, the U.S. squad will face off against Canada; Finland; all-star teams from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, Hockey East and ECAC Hockey; and various other NCAA Division I women's ice hockey teams. For more details, including the full schedule and ticket information, visit QwestTour.com.

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