Athletes from 41 countries are due to participate in the IIHF Women's High-Performance Camp ©IIHF/Toni Saarinen

More than 300 budding players from 41 countries are participating in an International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Women's High-Performance Camp in Vierumaki.

The week-long event is taking place at the Sport Institute of Finland.

Some of the leading female under-18 players in the world from both national and development squad will be present to receive "top-level education in various aspects of athleticism and running a national team". 

The focus is particularly on female junior players outside North America in an attempt to narrow the gap between Canada, United States and the rest of the world.

Coaches, goaltending coaches, video coaches, team managers, equipment managers, strength and conditioning coaches, athletic trainers and nutritionists will be among those present to give advice and support.

They will be joined by on-ice officials from different countries working towards becoming world-class referees and linesmen.

Melody Davidson, second right, is among those participating at the camp ©Getty Images
Melody Davidson, second right, is among those participating at the camp ©Getty Images

"Eight years ago I was here as a participant in the officiating programme and now I’m happy to be back and see how you want to grow here," International Ice Hockey Federation Council member Marta Zawadzka said.

Zawakzka, co-chair of the women’s and of the officiating committees, officially opened the event.

"It will be an exciting week," she added. 

"Enjoy every single moment as much as you can and we want you to become friends. 

"The IIHF is a big family."

Over 90 participants from previous camps went on to participate at Olympic Games in either Sochi in 2014 or Pyeongchang in 2018.

Leaders and advice this time around include long-time head coach and general manager of the Canadian women’s national team, Melody Davidson, former Swedish national team goaltender Valentina Lizana Wallner and United States' three-time world champion Molly Engstrom.

Only United States and Canada have ever won a women's Olympic gold in ice hockey since the sport first appeared in Nagano in 1998 and there has only been one occasion - Sweden in Turin in 2006 - where another nation has featured in the final.