Winter Olympics 2018: USA vs. Canada, one of sports' great rivalries, takes center stage

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USA and Canada (Getty Pictures)

There’s nothing fairly just like the rivalry between USA and Canada in ladies’s hockey. For greater than 20 years, their wrestle towards one one other has impressed us and demanded our consideration. In the present day the ladies’s recreation is extra in style than ever earlier than and it’ll take center stage in Pyeongchang, South Korea. However solely one workforce leaves with gold. 

Rather a lot has occurred because the first IIHF sanctioned ladies’s world championship in 1990. That yr, Canada proved its superiority on the ice with a 5-2 win over the USA within the gold-medal recreation. What adopted was a close to decade-lengthy reign because the uncontested greatest workforce on the earth of ladies’s hockey.

That’s, of course, till USA shocked the world and gained the primary ever ladies’s hockey Olympic gold in 1998. 

Because of that upset, what was already a great rivalry reworked into one thing altogether epic. The wrestle for supremacy between the 2 hockey superpowers has been nothing brief of spectacular since Nagano. The icons of these preliminary memorable clashes between Staff Canada and Staff USA have impressed generations of expertise. 

At present, that rivalry burns hotter than ever, a standard religion with conflicting sects recognized to each lady who steps on the ice with a stick in her palms in North America.

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Little women who play hockey in america and Canada know early on who they should play for and play towards to be obtain greatness. Numerous drives to the rink to get ice time, what you eat, the place you go to highschool, the place you go to school — all of it’s influenced by one’s want to play a task on this timeless wrestle. 

You do not change groups on this rivalry. You aren’t getting wealthy as a result of you might have provided your physique, blood, sweat, and tears to it. This can be a contest outlined by the eagerness, talent, ferocity, and dedication of its individuals. And it’s all-consuming. 

“It is intense,” 2010 Olympic silver medalist Erika Lawler advised Sporting Information. “Each time you are enjoying for Group USA and enjoying towards Hockey Canada you need to win it doesn’t matter what. You will sacrifice something to return house with a victory. You will do no matter it takes on the ice to beat them.

“Each single day you get up and also you’re considering of Canada,” Lawler continued. “That is the primary thought that crosses your thoughts. You assume, ‘I have to get higher today as a result of I have to beat Canada.’ And I assure you that each single one of these Canadian gamers are waking up and fascinated with Staff USA.”

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Not often can we see two elite groups which are so intently matched. Each groups have gamers who’re generational skills. They possess enchanting quantities of velocity and epitomize will and tenacity. Each gold medal recreation between the U.S. and Canada has been determined by two objectives or much less. There’s maybe no higher proof of how shut these two groups are matched than the final occasions they crossed sticks on the Olympics.

In Sochi’s gold-medal recreation, Staff Canada trailed Group USA by two objectives with lower than 4 minutes left in regulation. Towards all the chances, Canada scored two objectives in two and a half minutes to push the sport into extra time. The People took a pricey penalty within the additional interval, giving Canada a four-on-three energy play. Marie Philip-Poulin delivered with all of the open ice at her disposal. It was an immeasurable triumph for Canada and a devastating defeat for America. 

For 4 years, that defeat has pushed the handfuls of athletes who’ve performed for Workforce USA, together with 10 holdovers from Sochi. Each one of them needs nothing greater than to re-write historical past. They’ve spent months in residency in Florida getting ready for this event whereas the Canadians have spent months centralized in Calgary doing the exact same factor.

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In that point, the 2 groups have studied one different. They’ve watched numerous hours of movie, skated untold miles in practices and scrimmages, and have performed one another eight occasions since Oct. 22 to organize for Pyeongchang. Day by day, they’ve woken up and fallen asleep fascinated with learn how to beat one one other.

That is what the Olympics are all about. That is nearly as good as hockey will get.

There’s solely one assured recreation between Workforce USA and Group Canada in Pyeongchang, a gaggle play showdown Feb. 15 to find out playoff seeding. However it’s all however an inevitability that they’ll meet once more to play for gold one week later. The world will probably be watching.