International Ice Hockey Federation

Elusive home gold

Elusive home gold

Canada has had perfect record in U.S.

Published 31.03.2017 12:01 GMT-4 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Elusive home gold
Team USA players before the gold medal game of the gold medal game of the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship. Can the Americans defend the title on home ice? Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
Lost amid the excitement of welcoming back the U.S. players to the World Championship yesterday was a simple statement from Hilary Knight.

Speaking of the players’ new contract with USA Hockey she said, “With the World Championships at home, I’m excited that we were able to do it, have a landmark moment, and now we’re chasing another landmark moment--chasing our first World Championship gold on home soil.”

Whoa! Is that right? Yes, yes, it is. Indeed, The women have played four tournaments in the United States since the IIHF first inaugurated a Women’s Worlds in Ottawa in 1990, and four times they have fallen short.

In 1994, in Lake Placid, Canada won the gold-medal game by a 6-3 score. In Minneapolis in 2001, Canada again prevailed, 3-2. A year later, at the Olympics in Salt Lake, Canada exacted revenge for a loss in Nagano four years earlier, winning a nail-biter, 3-2. Most recently, at the excellent tournament in Burlington, Vermont, Caroline Ouellette scored in overtime to cap a crazy Canadian comeback and win, 6-5.

In fact, only a U.S. gold in Ottawa in 2013 and Kamloops in 2016 has prevented from Canada claiming a total North American sweep. Canada had previously won on home ice in 1990, 1997, 2000, 2004, and 2007.

The United States has dominated the Women’s Worlds in the last decade, but those wins have, for whatever reason, been mostly in Europe. They have won seven of the last nine tournaments, but five of those wins were overseas. 

The Europeans can’t seem to decide who enjoys playing in the U.S. Each of the four tournaments here previously has seen a different nation win bronze. Finland won in 1994; Russia won in 2001; Sweden took Olympic bronze in 2002; and, the Swiss took a surprising third in 2012.

So the Americans are doubly motivated. A new agreement in hand, they’ll try to win before what should be raucous home fans, but they know Canada’s success here can’t be ignored.


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