While fans were left disappointed when the league declined to take part in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, members of the last Canadian team not to feature in the "best-on-best" format said that, despite the bitter conclusion, their journey to the 1994 gold-medal game stands as a career highlight.
For global hockey fans, the NHL's lack of participation in the Olympics has left a major void.
On Thursday, Hockey Canada announced its leadership group for the men's team, a group of six players from four different hockey leagues across the globe, all of whom began their professional careers in North America but have since gone their separate ways. The United States of America has participated in the Winter Olympics for nearly a century, and no U.S. Olympic roster until now has included an African American player.
Women's ice hockey was introduced as an Olympic sport in 1998 at the Nagano Games. "They're pretty quick to figure out who should play with who".
Luckily, I'm here to fix the NHL's problem. The problem is, the World Cup of Hockey stinks.
But the problem for the U.S.is that Canada is fast and deep too.
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If nothing else, Dalton hopes stories like his - and that of fellow Ontarian Brock Radunske, a New Hamburg native considered one of the stars of the South Korean team - could help grow the game in South Korea while reminding Canadians that there's more to hockey than the NHL.
Because it's such a short tournament with three pool-play games, a qualifying round and then quarterfinals, it could come down to which team gels first after limited preparation time. It was ridiculous, and the tournament stunk.
This time the schedule was more conducive to partaking in the festivities as the women don't play their first game until Saturday afternoon. In the quarterfinals, the third-place team in Group A will face the second-place finisher in Group B and the fourth-place team in Group A will face the top team in group B. Those winners will advance to the semifinals. It's hockey, it's the Olympics and when Canada is on the ice, there may be names people don't really know but can you imagine that we don't get excited about it?
The U.S. team features a mix of Olympic experience and young talent.
"For me, even making the very first Canadian national team was such a special moment because there wasn't a Team Canada".
"When I got that phone call saying I made the team, it was an unbelievable feeling", McCarthy says, "something I dreamed about when I was a kid". Many didn't think that was possible.
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Extend the tournament from eight teams to 10. Sweden has the same odds as Canada, followed by Finland and the Czech Republic.
The players have also picked the brains of King, Martin Brodeur and Sean Burke, part of the management team, about what to expect at the games.
In the case of the gold medal game, overtime is still sudden victory, but it's a 20-minute-long period with a 15-minute intermission in between.
If you do this, you may have a few National Hockey League superstars here and there that won't be able to participate in the tournament. The results were terrible and some of the teams looked unrecognizable. "We've transformed how we look at the game".
"To be centre stage at the Olympics is pretty wonderful". The jerseys are traditional, but have also been modernized. "I'm just trying to enjoy every day that I'm here".
That's it. Fixing this issue really is that simple. "Jordan is a big, literally a big, force, and a big guy on this team, and hopefully his impact, and what he'll do out there - hopefully more families who watch the olympics will be drawn to our team and the success that we have".
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