Ultimate Olympic rivalry: Canada vs. U.S. for women’s hockey gold

Abigail Dove
Story by Abigail Dove and CBC Kids News • 2022-01-21 07:48

Canada and the U.S. are the only teams to ever win gold


Consistency is hard to find when it comes to the Olympics.

Since they only happen every four years, athletes change and things rarely stay the same.

One thing that has been consistent in the Winter Olympics is the rivalry between the only two teams to have won gold in women’s hockey.

It’s been Canada or the United States every single time since the sport was introduced at the Olympics in 1998.

This makes it one of the biggest rivalries to watch at the Winter Olympics this year in Beijing.

Of course, although we have seen these consistent winners in the past, anything can happen with COVID-19 and the rising Omicron cases.

It’s always been Canada or U.S. winning gold

Despite men’s hockey being in the Olympics for more than 100 years, women’s hockey only started being contested 24 years ago.

Four out of six times, Canada has left with the gold medal.

2 women hockey players from Canada look upset as they shake hands on the ice with 2 women from the American team.

Members of Team Canada shake hands with Team U.S.A. after Canada got the silver medal at the final women’s hockey event at the Pyeongchang Olympics in 2018. (Image credit: Kevin Light/CBC)

During the last Winter Olympics in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Canada lost 3-2 in a shootout with the U.S. during the gold medal game.

This makes the U.S. women’s hockey team the defending gold medallists for this year’s Games.

The only other time the U.S. won gold was at the 1998 Nagano Olympics.

Kathryn King of the U.S., right, is airborne as she clashes with Canada’s Cassie Campbell during their preliminary round match in the Olympic women's hockey competition in Nagano in 1998. (Image credit: Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images)

Sweden is the only other country to ever make it to the final, where they lost to Canada in 2006.

The rivalry between the U.S. and Canada is so intense that after previous Olympics, some people have criticized the sport for almost always being a two-team matchup, meaning other countries don’t stand a chance.

Still, the fans in Canada love it.

Canadian fans cheer on the women’s hockey team in Pyeongchang in 2018. (Image credit: Kevin Light/CBC)

Rivalry beyond the Olympics

In November and December 2021, Canada and the U.S. took part in a nine-game pre-Olympic competition called the Rivalry Series, in several American and Canadian cities.

The series was cut short after six games due to rising COVID-19 concerns.

Canada won four out of the six games, including two in overtime.

Canada's Brianne Jenner, left, celebrates a goal with teammate Marie-Philip Poulin during second period action of the Rivalry Series in Kingston, Ontario, in November 2021. (Image credit: Lars Hagberg/The Canadian Press)

Now the team is lying low.

With the Olympics less than a month away, the team is avoiding contact with other players to make sure no one gets COVID-19.

Everyone travelling to Beijing for the Olympic Games must test negative before they leave Canada.

“It's not worth the risk to play any games and to bring in any external people into our environment,” said Gina Kingsbury, Hockey Canada director of hockey operations.

Some of the players are frenemies

Although Canada and the U.S. are rivals on the ice, many of them are actually good friends.

That’s because they’ve played — or are still playing — on the same club or U.S. college teams, making them teammates.

Canada's Marie-Philip Poulin and U.S. player Amanda Pelkey make contact during the women's gold medal final at the Olympics in Pyeongchang. (Image credit: Kevin Light/CBC)

A look ahead

A roster of 23 players was announced on Jan. 11 for Team Canada, of which 13 were on the silver medal team in 2018.

Canada plays against Switzerland in the preliminary round on Feb. 2, two days ahead of the opening ceremonies.

As of right now, the gold medal game is set for Feb. 17.

Fans in Canada will have to watch in the middle of the night on Feb. 16.

We will have to wait and see if history holds true and we see Canada and the U.S. in the gold medal game once again!

Have more questions? We'll do our best to look into it for you. Ask for permission from your parent or guardian and email us at cbckidsnews@cbc.ca.

With files from The Canadian Press
TOP IMAGE CREDIT: Michael Dwyer/The Associated Press, graphic design by Philip Street/CBC

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About the Contributor

Abigail Dove
Abigail Dove
CBC Kids News Contributor
Abigail Dove, a Grade 11 student, loves all things sports. She’s a competitive golfer and hockey player who aspires to be a sports broadcaster. Abigail has written for Sports Illustrated Kids, done some online reporting for Golf Canada and was the rinkside reporter for the Toronto Maple Leafs "Next Generation" games.

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