Although every sport in the Winter Olympics is popular to some degree, and every medal counts the same, there really isn’t anything that will come close to the amount of buzz that is generated by men’s ice hockey. With so many stars on the ice at once and so much hype surrounding this event, the battle for gold in the 2010 men’s ice hockey tournament is the talk of the games.
The excitement level is there for each sport, but it’s hard to compete with names like Ovechkin and Crosby. And ever since NHL players were allowed to compete in the Olympics back in 1994, the men’s ice hockey has become the crown jewel of the games.
To give you an idea of how huge the men’s ice hockey event is, the biggest entertainment venue in Vancouver is called the “Hockey House.” This structure is over 62,000 square feet and cost $15 million to erect.
To put that in perspective, that’s $5 million more than the Canadian government spent to set up their visitor tent. I know Canadians are crazy about hockey, but you just wouldn’t see a downhill skiing house, or a curling house, both events which the Canadians have a good shot at medaling in.
It’s a good thing that there is an event that is so important in these games since the Winter Olympics Games have always played second fiddle to the Summer Games. But with the world-wide popularity of hockey, this event brings enthusiasm from all corners of the globe.
I’m still going to be glued to the TV when Apolo Ohno tries to break the American record for most speed skating medals, but the fact of the matter is someone in Sweden could probably afford to miss it. But when the Czech Republic and Slovakia hit the ice, you bet your ass I’ll be watching, and I’m sure millions around the world will be as well.
If you’ve been following all the hype, anything but a Russia vs. Canada final will be a disappointment. That’s true if you’re Canadian, as the country is foaming at the mouth for the hockey gold, and Russia hasn’t won since 1992, but other squads such as Sweden and the USA could easily upset the favourites.
Here are the 2010 Winter Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Odds to win Gold (Provided by BetUS.com):
- Canada -150
- Russia +200
- Sweden +500
- USA +500
- Czech Republic +1200
- Finland +1200
- Slovakia +3000
- Switzerland +8000
- Germany +20000
- Latvia +50000
- Belarus +50000
- Norway +80000
It’s no shocker that the Canadians are the favourite heading into the Games, but that just adds even more pressure considering they are the host country. Everyone on that team knows that the only medal that counts is gold, anything else will be viewed as a disappointment and you have to think that gives the advantage to these teams flying under the radar.
Tossing a little money on Team Sweden or the USA isn’t a bad idea as the Russian’s and Canadian’s will be so focused on facing each other, they could underestimate the other competition. Don’t forget that Sweden is the defending gold medalists, and they’re returning over half of that team. At +500, they’re a very good bet.