International Ice Hockey Federation president Rene Fasel has guaranteed that women's ice hockey would not be taken out of the Olympics, after another tournament in which concerns over competitive balance have been raised regarding Canada, the United States and the rest of the world.
"That will never happen," Fasel said during a news conference on Tuesday, per CTV News. "I can guarantee that will never happen."
The statement comes a day after the United States completely dismantled Sweden in the semifinal round of the women's tournament, outshooting the Swedes 70-9 in the lopsided 6-1 victory. Canada beat Switzerland in their game, 3-1, while putting 48 shots on goal. So far in the tournament, the two countries have outscored their opponent 34-8 and will once again face each other in the Gold Medal game on Thursday.
In 2010, the sport came under fire once more when Canada and the United States combined to outscore the opposition 88-4 and prompting concern that the sport was being dominated by two countries with no room for any others to compete. The IIHF president says that there's been improvement in the sport's competitiveness, although there is still a ways to go.
"I think it's much better than it was in Vancouver," Fasel said. "We started in Vancouver with 17-0 Canada-Slovak game. We have 80,000 girls playing in Canada, and we have maybe 4,000 or 4,500 playing in Finland, maybe 2,000 in Sweden and in Switzerland and Russia if we have 2,000 girls playing that would be a lot. It's much better, but we are not there and we can see the result."
Canada and the Unites States will face off for the Gold Medal on Thursday at 11 a.m. ET.