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NHL Stays Home, but Olympic Hockey Will Still Be Sharp

Credit: Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images

The Women

Eight teams will vie for gold in the sixth edition of the women’s hockey tournament at the Games.

The Favorites

Team USA and Canada historically are at the top of the women’s game, and this year is no exception. The U.S. won the inaugural Gold Medal 20 years ago in Nagano. Since, it’s been all Canada, as the Canadians have won four straight Golds and 20 straight games overall, including an overtime thriller against the Americans four years ago in the title game.

Finland, the third-ranked team in the world, figures to be a strong challenger for the Bronze Medal but will have a tough time getting by the two favorites.

The Next Level

It’ll be a tall order for the likes of Russia or Sweden to find their way to the medal stand, but each has experience on the Olympic stage. Same goes for Switzerland and Japan, who has been surprisingly good in the sport since its Olympic inception at the Nagano games in their home country.

The Longshot/Best Story

I wouldn’t have an idea how many total hockey rinks you’ll find in Korea, but one of the great stories of these games comes from the unified effort of athletes from South Korea and North Korea as they field a team together in this tournament.

Their chances of even being competitive, much less winning a game, are awfully slim. However, it’s cool to see these ladies go beyond politics to compete together on the big stage.

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