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You know me and you know where I stand on what the greatest hockey nation is. It’s America. But is it? Really? As has been so often pointed out to me by the dimmest members of the international hockey community every time I espouse my beliefs, America doesn’t always do so great in noteworthy international tournaments that are not the World Junior Championships (and even then.. it’s iffy), which is at least partly an indictment of the fact that perhaps the good ol’ United States of America isn’t the best after all.
Instead, the best hockey nation is clearly Canada*, America’s neighbors to the north, on the basis that they sure seem to win a whole hell of a lot of gold medals in international competitions featuring men, women, the disabled, and probably dogs or something (side note: I would pay a real large sum of money to see international hockey competitions contested by dogs). That most famously, or at the very least most recently, includes gold on home ice at the Vancouver 2010 in both men’s and women’s hockey, games in which both sexes defeated the United States and made me real mad. I didn’t care for either result at all.
Wikipedia — a super-reliable source, I know — tells me Hockey Canada’s all-time combined record for both men and women is 1,123-460-131 (a .693 win percentage comprised of 895–421–128 for the men, and a terrifying 228–39–3 for the women). That is a lot of wins. A real lot, and one imagines that most of them started cropping up around the time the IIHF smartened up and started allowing professionals to play the game. Probably because those rotten Soviets spent all those years sending professionals to the Olympics and whatever under the auspices that they were government employees whose job just happened to involve playing hockey first, foremost, last and least. Whatever you think of the general qualities of both the US and Canada when it comes to international hockey, I believe we can all agree the Russians are the absolute worst.
I’d expect that domination to continue going forward as well. It’s often said that Canada, were it allowed to send two teams and not just one to the Olympics, would be able to take gold and silver just based on the insane depth they have. They’re probably going to leave some of the best players on the planet sitting at home to watch the Sochi games like a regular idiot such as me or you, and that doesn’t seem wholly fair, but that is also life. When guys like Eric Staal and Jarome Iginla are likely to be your healthy scratches most nights, well, that speaks pretty well of your ability to put together a decent roster.
So yes, perhaps I’m wrong about things, and Canada is the best hockey country these days. The results past, present, and especially future really seem to back that up.
(*This post written under the supposition that the USA Hockey, the United States of America, and freedom no longer exist as of today.)
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