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MacLeod gets helping hand from hometown on road to the Olympics @NHL

CALGARY - The 2010 Olympic Games felt less stressful, financially anyway, to Carla MacLeod as she watched over 300 people play ball hockey for her Sunday.

The Canadian women's hockey team defenceman awaited word from head coach Melody Davidson as to whether she'll be on the roster for the world championship next month, and also on the list of players invited to try out for the Olympic team.

Davidson is expected to make that announcement Tuesday in Calgary. MacLeod, a veteran of the team that won Olympic gold in 2006, will likely make the cut. But the competition for jobs on the national team is so fierce that MacLeod is never 100 per cent sure.

What the 26-year-old was sure of was she'd have more money to live on after the championship game of the Boston Pizza Street Hockey Classic.

The restaurant in the southern Calgary neighbourhood where MacLeod grew up staged the tournament as a fundraiser for their local hero. It was expected to generate over $10,000 for MacLeod to help pay her expenses heading into the 2010 Games

"It puts a little pressure on me," MacLeod said with a grin. "Hopefully Mel will see this and include me on that roster."

The five-foot-four, 133-pound defender has also played for Canada in three previous world championships. She's compiled nine goals and 20 assists in 57 career games with the national team.

Davidson will name 21 players, including one alternate goaltender, to the team for the women's world championship April 4-12 in Hameenlinna, Finland. The coach might also name the other five or six players who will join them in trying out for the Olympic team next winter.

All invited players will move to Calgary at the beginning of August if they don't live in the city already.

MacLeod lives on her Sport Canada funding, which is $1,500 a month, plus a sponsorship she has with the Calgary investment company McLean and Partners.

"As amateur athletes, it's been well-documented that we don't make tons of money," she said. "We certainly get our carding money from the government and we make couple thousand here or there during other events.

"I have a mortgage, some of the girls have car payments and we have to eat. I'm not a high-profile athlete so I don't have the big sponsorships out there."

When the women centralize in Calgary, Hockey Canada will top up their living expenses by providing $2,500 per month. MacLeod finds it's seasons between Olympics where money is tight.

"She has a lot of expenses and she hasn't got a lot of income," said her mother Edna. "She can't hold down a regular job because there's no time for that with training, so this money coming in is great."

The tournament organizer wanted to adopt a local athlete for the fundraiser and someone who didn't have their name in lights.

"We wanted it to be somebody it would have an impact on," Ted Tomanik explained. "This is exactly what we wanted, a local girl representing us at the Olympics hopefully.

"She's not the highest-profile person who gets a lot of support from other avenues."

The pressure will be on the Canadian women to defend their Olympic gold medal in Vancouver. Financial help from her community helps alleviate stress on the home front, MacLeod said.

"You don't have to budget everything to a 'T'," she said. "It give you a little breathing room."

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