Road To The Olympic Games

Cherry warns women's hockey squad

Don Cherry voiced his displeasure with the Canadian Olympic women's hockey team on Wednesday and suggested it stop running up scores in Turin, Italy

Don Cherry has a message for coach Melody Davidson and the Canadian Olympic women's hockey team: Stop running up the score in Turin, Italy, or else.

"If you keep it up, you're committing suicide and they'll throw [women's hockey out of the Winter Games after Vancouver in 2010]," the Hockey Night in Canada personality said on Wednesday night, referring to the International Olympic Committee.

Canada outscored the opposition 36-1 during its three preliminary-round games, including a 16-0 thrashing of Italy to open the tournament on Saturday.

"I'm upset that Canada has been running up the score, especially against the host nation," United States defenceman Angela Ruggiero told Sports Illustrated's website on Monday.

"There was no need for that. They're trying to pad their stats ... Canada is running up the score for whatever reasons – personal, short-term."

Some critics have said the Canadian women lack class, while others hold the view that the defending Olympic champions went to Turin to play their best, and that's just what they'll do.

In this tournament, tiebreakers are decided first by the deadlocked teams' record against each other and then by goal differential. That differential can determine which team has home-ice advantage in the medal round.

"I've been a big supporter of women's hockey," Cherry said, "but the [Canadian] women have made a big mistake. To run up a score like [16-0], that is wrong. It's not the Canadian way.

"There's hockey gods. You will be paid back for [running up scores]."

Women's hockey could be on thin ice because no other nation has been able to challenge the sport's powerhouses – Canada and the United States.

Cherry believes the sport could receive the same treatment in the Olympics as baseball and softball.

Last week, the IOC – which is comprised of 125 members, of which 60 are European – voted against reinstating both sports for the 2012 London Games at their annual meeting in Turin.

"They don't play [baseball and softball] in Europe, [so the IOC] had it thrown out," Cherry said. "If you beat all those European [hockey] teams [by lopsided scores] and make a mockery of the hosts [they'll throw it out]."

Canada's next game is a semifinal matchup against Finland on Friday (CBC, 3 p.m. EST).