It looks like another Canada-u.s. women’s final
If form holds, the 2012 women’s world hockey championship will begin and end with Canada playing the United States.
The two countries have been the powerhouses of the sport since the first world championship was contested in Ottawa in 1990. Canada, which opens the tournament with a preliminary round game against the U.S. tonight, has won nine of the 13 world championships. The Americans have won four of the past five world titles and are the three-time defending champions.
The two have also dominated the Olympics. The U.S. won the inaugural event at Nagano in 1998, but Canada took gold in 2002, 2006 and 2010.
The exhibition results leading up to the tournament indicate we can expect more of the same in burlington. Canada squeezed past the U.S. 1-0 in Ottawa and then wrapped up its training camp in Vermont by blasting Sweden 8-0. The U.S. beat Finland 7-0 in its other exhibition game.
The disparity led to some talk that the women’s game would be dropped from the Olympic program and that has caught the attention of hockey federations in Europe.
“They’re working hard to catch up, but it’s going to take time,” said Dan Church, Canada’s head coach.
Preliminary rosters for the tournament show a sprinkling of players on each team attending NCAA schools in the U.S., while Russian star Iya Gavrilova helped Calgary win the CIS championship last month.