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Sochi 2014: US and Canada sporting rivalry takes to the ice

Canadian players celebrate at the end of...Canadian players celebrate at the end of the Men's Ice Hockey Quarterfinals

Canadian players celebrate at the end of…Canadian players celebrate at the end of the Men’s Ice Hockey Quarterfinals Photo: AFP

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The sporting rivalry between Canada and the US is particularly fierce,
especially on the ice as it is in the winter sports that their pools of
talent are most evenly matched.

Prior to 1991 the Soviet Union’s ice hockey team was largely seen as the
biggest rival to both countries.

From 1956 to 1988, the Soviet Union team won a medal in each one of its nine
appearances, including seven gold medals, one silver medal and one bronze
medal. The ‘Unified’ team, which consisted of six former Soviet replublics,
also won the gold medal in 1992.

However, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Canada and the US became
the two major world players in ice hockey.

Russia have not won a gold medal in the last 22 years, and their much vaunted
team crashed out of the tournament at Sochi after a poor quarter-final
performance on Wednesday.

‘Blame Canada’ was featured in an episode of South Park

While Canadian and American players may, in some cases, be team-mates in the
National Hockey League, all amicable relationships crumble in the event of a
major tie.

Canada forward Jonathan Toews summed it up: “There’s a lot of animosity,
a lot of feelings like there’s something to prove between both teams,”

In the case of the women’s teams, this evolved into an all-out brawl recently:

The Canadian women’s ice hockey team have already come out on top, winning the
gold medal at Sochi after coming back from two goals down to win 3-2 during
sudden-death overtime.

The US and Canada’s men’s teams have a particularly fraught relationship when
it comes to their Olympic history.

The US faced Canada at the first ever Olympic ice hockey tournament in 1920
where Canada won the gold medal.

They have gone on to win eight gold medals, while the US have only won two.
The Canadian team won six of its gold medals in a clash against the US team,
whereas the US team has won one gold medal in a game against them.

The US hasn’t won a men’s hockey medal outside of North America since 1972,
while Canada hasn’t done it since 1994. Canada has won two of the last three
Olympic golds.

America now have a chance to win their first hockey gold medal since 1980.

As the men’s teams squared up for the semi-final game in Sochi, Canada’s Drew
Doughty said:

“We want those bragging rights for the rest of the season,” said
Doughty, who has four goals in Sochi. “For the rest of your life,
really. … I want to beat them so badly. We’re big rivals, us and the US,
especially after our last Olympics. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

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Sochi 2014: US and Canada sporting rivalry takes to the ice

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