Olympic Hockey 2014: North American Battle Brings Women's Hockey to the Fore

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Olympic Hockey 2014: North American Battle Brings Women's Hockey to the Fore
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Hockey—Olympic or otherwise—isn't just for men.

At least, not anymore.

Teams USA and Canada are proving that women can be just as quick and hard-hitting as their male counterparts.

Both teams came in to Wednesday's game riding an undefeated Olympic streak for the year. Canada had recorded two shutouts against Switzerland and Finland, while USA had a 3-1 win over Finland and a decisive 9-0 shutout against Switzerland.

Though both teams are arguably the two best women's hockey teams this year, there is no such thing as a little friendly competition between the two.

The battle and rivalry between the two North American teams is heated, to say the least.

In December, a brawl broke out during a U.S. vs. CAN game. There was definite hostility, and it wasn't even the Olympics.

Jen Neale, writing for Yahoo!'s Puck Daddy, had it right when she wrote:

If anyone says female hockey players aren't tough like the guys, you have been officially dared to drop gloves with one of them at the rink.

On Wednesday, the competition continued in search of the gold, and the intensity grew as Canada rallied back from a 1-0 deficit in the third.

Sallie Jenkins of the Washington Post summarized the intensity of the game this way:

It was supposedly a meaningless game, just an appetizer, because both teams already had byes into the semifinals. But there was nothing casual about it as they shouldered each other into the walls and the momentum swung back and forth.

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Results complaints aside, Canada left as the only undefeated team in Group A (Sweden and Russia remain undefeated in Group B).

Watching these two teams play throws every female stereotype out the window. The players move quickly, think fast and hit hard. They compete just as hard as the men.

ESPN reported that professional football was the most popular sport in America — for the 30th year in a row:

In 2014, 35 percent of fans call the NFL their favorite sport, followed by Major League Baseball (14 percent), college football (11 percent), auto racing (7 percent), the NBA (6 percent), the NHL (5 percent) and college basketball (3 percent).

Not one mention of women's sports. The only thing that comes close is auto racing, where Danica Patrick is breaking barriers. Otherwise, it's nothing but males.

In a nation where men's sports are the front-runners in popular sports, the U.S. women's hockey team is making a case for women's sports everywhere.


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