In defeating the Americans by a score of 2-0, the Canadian women’s hockey team took to the ice in a celebration that many of them will not soon forget. With Shannan Szabados’ shutout leading the way, the women’s hockey team piled on their goalie and kept the celebration going well into Thursday night.
Olympic gold medals on home soil have to feel good and the taste of victory is all the sweeter when it comes against a rival club. The Americans have always been Canada’s biggest rivals in women’s hockey and many know all about the bad blood between the two clubs that came to a boil when the lousy Americans trampled the Canadian flag in their dressing room during Salt Lake’s Olympics.
Or there’s the situation from the 1998 Nagano Olympics where Sandra Whyte allegedly said something insensitive about the recent passing of Danielle Goyette’s father.
Whatever the facts are amid the hype, the rivalry between the two women’s clubs has been clear throughout the years and has made for some exciting and tense moments. On home ice, however, 2010 belonged to Team Canada.
That didn’t stop IOC president Jacques Rogge from putting a bit of a damper on the proceedings, however, as his pronouncement that women’s hockey could go the way of softball at the Olympics certainly seemed to be poorly timed.
Indeed, Rogge’s desire to piss all over the excitement of both Finland’s run for bronze and Canada’s run for gold couldn’t have been more of a mistake. “We cannot continue without improvement,” Rogge said. “There is a discrepancy there, everyone agrees with that. This is maybe the investment period in women’s ice hockey. I would personally give them more time to grow – but there must be a period of improvement.”
Rogge most certainly has a point, but there’s no way his timing of the statement helps things.
The “problem” with women’s hockey lies simply with the inequality in the programs internationally. The Americans and Canadians spend considerable money on their hockey clubs, while other teams don’t come up with as much capital or time to invest. The Americans and Canadian teams know each other well, but teams like Finland and Sweden don’t have the same cohesion.
That’s not to say that the other teams in women’s hockey don’t have a serious work ethic or shouldnt be considered as threats. “The Sweden team worked their asses off,” said Sweden coach Peter Elander.
The Finnish club is getting set to spend considerable money to improve their facilities and overall hockey program in time for the 2014 events in Sochi and other international clubs are expected to do the same. With Rogge’s pronouncement lingering overhead, it looks like it’s time to shape up or ship out for women’s hockey at the Olympics.
Posted by Jordan Richardson.