When it comes to all time domination, very few countries in the history of the Winter Olympics can compete with the Canadian women’s ice hockey team.
The decision to integrate women’s ice hockey into the Winter Olympic roster was made embarrassingly late by the International Olympic Committee in 1998, but ever since, Canada has picked up a silver medal or better in every Olympic games.
With 4 event wins from 6 editions of women’s ice hockey at the Winter Olympics, the Canadians are the team to beat and in Beijing in 2022, very little looks to have changed.
One of the extra motivations for this current crop of Canadian stars is the fact that the USA won the event in 2018 at Pyeongchang, a result that is sure to still rankle many on this current squad’s roster.
The impact of COVID-19 on team selection has been felt by every country in the build-up to the 2022 Winter Olympics and Canada is no different on that score.
However, they still possess a team packed with experience and talent at the highest level and if they play anywhere near their best hockey, they will be very difficult to stop.
With 10 teams in the event for the first time (an increase from 8 at the 2018 games), there is increased competition in Beijing in 2022. While that is unlikely to phase this Canadian team, it is another hurdle they will have to overcome.
Currently priced at a rather short -175 with betting offers in Canada are the red hot favourites to go all the way and pick up their 5th Winter Olympic gold medal in women’s ice hockey. They have a tough group, with games against both USA and Russia sure to present very real challenges but they have the know-how at this level and every other side in the competition will be all too aware of the threat that Canada poses on the ice.
Defending champions, the USA have also had their preparations for Beijing hit by a series of serious stumbling blocks with player availability and COVID restrictions playing havoc in terms of team selection.
However, much like with Canada, there will be very little sympathy from any other countries in the competition – due to the wealth of player riches both countries have at their disposal.
The PHF (formerly the women’s NHL) is a professional enterprise, that enables women in both America and Canada to compete on a regular basis and consequently the standard of women’s ice hockey is sky rocketing.
Currently available at +138, the USA are very much second favourites to go ahead and claim back-to-back women’s ice hockey golds, but they are playing well, that will be feared throughout the draw.
Elsewhere, there are plenty of countries on the periphery that will be looking to make it through the early stages and have at least a shot of getting into a medal winning position.
Three-time women’s ice hockey bronze medal winners Finland, are certainly one of the dark horses at Beijing in 2022.
Should they make it through the early rounds, the Finns could be in with a real shot of going all the way and at an astronomical +2500, they are ones to watch.