In women's hockey, it's generally the North American countries and then there's everybody else. In 2006, USA was stunned by Sweden and had to settle for a bronze medal, yet this year there seems to be an even larger divide between the top two teams and the rest of the world.
One forgotten aspect of these Olympic games is how this is the one time every four years that women's hockey from around the world actually get's a good amount of attention. IIHF.com has a great story about the European and Asian countries are not only having to deal with two dominating teams but also the uncomfortable attention they are now getting.
The Olympic women’s hockey tournament is another story. Media representatives from all over the world are already in Vancouver, because of men’s hockey and other winter sports played in the city. They just have to hop on a bus to watch a game. The TV cameras are also here and national broadcasters are showing women’s hockey as they would normally not do if it wasn’t Olympic time.
For the players it is their unique chance they have every four years to present their sport to the public, to present themselves and to draw attention to their skills. It is a unique opportunity for the sport as a whole that started off internationally with the IIHF World Women’s Championship in 1990 and the inclusion of women’s hockey as an Olympic sport for the 1998 Nagano Olympics.
Team Canada started off their tournament with a 18-0 thumping of Slovakia, a domination that the score does even begin to describe. Today, the U.S. women will start their journey against China in what should be just as easy a contest.
It's a mixture of veteran experience and youthful speed and talent for the Americans, with Jenny Potter leading the way. The team ranges in age from 31 to 20, and includes twins Monique and Jocelyn Lamoureux.
United States vs China, 3:00 p.m. EST (CNBC) - UBC Thunderbird Arena
Finland vs Russia, 7:30 p.m. EST (CNBC) - UBC Thunderbird Arena