The 2022 Beijing Olympics are almost upon us, and one of the highlights of the games for many North Americans will be women’s hockey.
It’s hard to find a better rivalry in all of sport, and when it comes to women’s hockey, there’s Canada, the United States, and then everybody else.
These fierce foes have been going at it for years, but for the first time in 10 years, the Canadian women’s hockey team will enter the Olympics as the current world champion.
Even better for sports fans this time around: You can bet on the Olympics this year throughout much of Canada.
The women took the IIHF World Championship last August when they defeated the US 3-2 in overtime. Can Canada parlay that momentum into a gold medal this February in Beijing? Let’s dive in.
You can bet on it: Legal markets open throughout Canada
Women’s hockey will be among the most high-profile events in China, especially for Canadian viewers.
You will also be able to wager on games legally, as provincial lotteries have been posting single-event Canada sports betting markets for months.
In Ontario, where expanded legal sports betting options will launch on April 4, Proline Plus Sportsbook is the only option for now.
Proline Plus will have several Olympics markets open. But as the opening ceremony approaches, only the total medal market was open.
There, Canada had third-best odds to win the most golds at 9.00 (+800 American equivalent), trailing Norway (1.25, -400) and Germany (5.50, +450).
The magnificent Team Canada women’s hockey team is a real shot to pick up one of those golds, and a high-profile one at that.
US vs. Canada women’s hockey: By the Numbers
Let’s have a look at the team histories for the US and Canada women’s hockey teams and how they stack up:
US vs. Canada at Winter Olympics
US vs. Canada at IIHF Worlds
US vs. Canada at Four Nations Cup
Team Canada Winter Olympics women’s hockey schedule
Here’s the breakdown of when Team Canada will be on the ice in Beijing:
- Thursday vs. Switzerland
- Saturday vs. Finland
- Monday vs. Russian Olympic Committee
- Tuesday vs. USA
- Feb. 11-12, quarterfinals
- Feb. 14, semifinals
- Feb. 17, gold medal game
Canada vs. US women’s hockey: The anatomy of a rivalry
Canada and the U.S. have a storied history when it comes to international play, to say the least. Since international play’s inception, the two nations have faced each other in the gold medal game in 19 out of 20 IIHF World Championships and five of six Olympics.
It’s been a seesaw affair in the Olympics for the two squads. The Americans drew first blood by claiming gold in Nagano in 1998, but that was followed by four straight golds for the Canadians until the U.S. was able to reclaim Olympic glory by defeating Canada in 2018, making them the reigning champion.
The same back-and-forth can be said for the World Championships as well. Canada was an early powerhouse, winning eight straight golds from 1990-2004, but since then, it’s been all America. Until Canada’s recent gold last August, the U.S. had won nine out of the previous eleven Worlds, including eight against the Canadians.
Team Canada women’s hockey roster set for podium run
The 23-player roster is official, and the almost two dozen hopefuls are in Beijing. The squad is led by captain Marie-Philip Poulin and forward Rebecca Johnston, who are on their way to their fourth Olympic games.
The lineup consists of three goalies, seven defence, and 13 forwards and will hit the ice on Thursday for a preliminary game against Switzerland. Thirteen days later, a gold medal champion will be crowned.
Kristen Campbell, Brandon, Man.
Ann-Renée Desbiens, La Malbaie, Que.
Emerance Maschmeyer, Bruderheim, Alta.
Erin Ambrose, Keswick, Ont.
Ashton Bell, Deloraine, Man.
Renata Fast, Burlington, Ont.
Jocelyne Larocque, Ste. Anne, Man.
Ella Shelton, Ingersoll, Ont.
Claire Thompson, Toronto
Micah Zandee-Hart, Saanichton, B.C.
Emily Clark, Saskatoon
Mélodie Daoust, Valleyfield, Que.
Sarah Fillier, Georgetown, Ont.
Brianne Jenner, Oakville, Ont.
Rebecca Johnston, Sudbury, Ont.
Emma Maltais, Burlington, Ont.
Sarah Nurse, Hamilton
Marie-Philip Poulin, Beauceville, Que. (team captain)
Jamie Lee Rattray, Kanata, Ont.
Jillian Saulnier, Halifax
Natalie Spooner, Scarborough, Ont.
Laura Stacey, Kleinburg, Ont.
Blayre Turnbull, Stellarton, N.S.
Sour taste still lingers from 2018 South Korea Games
The Canadian women’s team has not tasted Olympic gold since 2014 in Sochi, Russia, and still has the lingering taste of a 3-2 shootout loss to the Americans in the gold medal game in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Canada head coach Troy Ryan knows the dedication it takes to produce a gold-worthy team and is happy with the work he’s seen go into development in the last four years.
“We have faced a number of challenges during this four-year Olympic cycle, and our staff and leadership group have done an incredible job preparing our athletes for Beijing. I am extremely proud of the team we have assembled and look forward to the opportunity to compete for a gold medal.”
Team USA, Team Canada ready for battle
After the World Championships, Canada and the United States had a 9-game exhibition tournament set up in Allentown, Pa., and Hartford, Conn., in preparation for the Beijing Olympics. The series was cut to just six games after a Covid-19 outbreak on the Canadian side.
Canada dominated the six games, going 4-1-1, but you can take that with a grain of salt because of the exhibition status of the matchups. Both teams recognize this and will now turn their attention to Beijing without playing any more contests in an effort to limit the chance of any more infections.
But judging by the comments of U.S. forward Brianna Decker, Team USA is ready for business come February.
“Our business isn’t finished until we come back with a gold medal,” Decker said.
Decker is thrilled to be participating in her third Olympic games and noted that it’s “been a while” since the U.S. has lost to the Canadians at such an event. As the reigning Olympic champions, Team USA does have some bragging rights.
Ryan didn’t go quite as far when made aware of Decker’s comments but made it known that Canada isn’t here just for fun.
“I don’t know if it’s unfinished business, we’ve got business,” the Team Canada coach said.
If history serves as an indicator, we’re in for another exciting Olympic showdown. We can expect plenty of close games, thrilling shootouts, and no shortage of rough stuff. Oh, and of course fun.
“To be honest, it’s going to be fun,” Poulin, the Canadian captain, said.