(WINDSOR, ON) – With 8 gold, 5 silver, and 6 bronze medals in our current cache, for a total of 19, Canada is presently in 3rd place in the overall medal count behind Norway (29) and Germany (23) at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. But, more importantly, the U.S.A (12) is in sixth with France (14) and the Netherlands (13) wedged between us and our international border allies and rivals to the south.
All of this is occurring with a field of 25 national teams, with the host Republic of South Korea standing in 9th place.
While Canada has captured the gold medal in skiing, in team and pairs skating, and curling the US has most notably struck gold in snow boarding.
But, what often matters most between Canada and the US is not how many medals are won overall, but who has bragging rights, at the end of any Winter Olympic games, about how our respective teams finish in hockey.
Men’s hockey goes back to 1920 at the Olympics, wherein the Canadian member have bested the U.S. men’s team to form a typical CanAm rivalry. Team Canada has 9 olympics gold medals (the most of any country), and has one 3 of the last 4, including the last games in Sochi, Russia (2014) where the men and women struck for gold.
The Canadian men are set to play Finland in quarter-final action this week, while the US men were bounced out of the medal round by the Czech Republic. It’s notable that no NHL players are playing for either team this year, harkening back to the original premise of the Olympics. The US has only won two gold medals since then.
Yet the rivalry among the Canadian and US women is a tempest in a tea pot. The two teams have met an unprecedented 5 times in the gold medal match out of the six Olympiads since women’s hockey entered the games in 1998.
Although the Canadians were heavily favoured to win their first medal match-up, the US women’s hockey pulled off a staggering upset in Nagano, Japan, beating Canada at Canada’s game. And, the rivalry was born.
In the very next games, Canada got immediate revenge by up-ending the States in their own backyard.
The Canadian women have since prevailed unbeaten over the US, with the exception of playing and beating Finland for gold in 2006.
However, since the 2014 gold medal game, when the US was up by 2 goals with only 5 minutes remaining, Canada went on to win in overtime in a crushing defeat against a very talented American team. The victory earned Canada it’s 4th straight gold.
In total, the team teams have faced each other 18 times since the women’s world hockey championship came into being in 1990, with Canada winning 10 of those matches. But, none of that matters when the puck drops tomorrow evening in Pyeongchang between the undisputed two best female teams in the world.
Windsor and Essex County is well represented in the mix by the inexhaustible Megan Agosta.
Both Canada and the US easily dispatched their semi-final foes, the Olympic Atheletes from Russia and Findland, as though they were just speed bumps. With no love lost between these two hockey clans whatsoever, the puck will drop at 7pm EST this Thursday to determine the best in the world, one more time.