One of the most exciting sports at the 2014 Winter Olympics will be Men’s Ice Hockey. This sport has a long tradition of being very competitive, as hockey players representing countries from all over the world gear up to face each other in intense competitions.
Brief background of Men’s Ice Hockey at the Winter Olympics
Since the 1920 Summer Olympics, ice hockey has been a popular Olympic sport. Professional hockey players from various countries, such as Canada and the United States, face each other in the pursuit of winning a gold medal. It is worth noting that, although ice hockey was played at the 1920 Summer Olympics, the program was transferred to the Winter Olympics in 1924.
This year’s tournament will begin on February 8, 2014, and conclude on February 23. The tournament will be played at the Bolshoy Ice Dome and at the Shayba Arena. Teams were decided by the IHIF (International Ice Hockey Federaton) after the 2012 Men’s Ice Hockey Championships. Based on the rankings, the top nine teams were chosen to play, while another three teams were given permission based on qualification standards.
Key countries competing in ice hockey this year
In all, twelve countries will be represented, and they will be divided into three groups. Group A will feature Russia, Slovakia, the United States, and Slovenia. Group B will feature Finland, Canada, Norway, and Austria. Group C will feature the Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, and Lativa. Although Russia will be hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics, Canada is the favorite to win the men’s hockey tournament. The Canadian National Men’s Ice Hockey Team is considered the favorite because the team took home gold at the last Winter Olympics, in 2010.
The three countries that medaled at the 2010 Winter Olympics in ice hockey were Canada, the United States, and Finland. Since this event was played at the Canada Hockey Place and at the UBC Winter Sports Centre in British Columbia, Canada, Canada’s gold medal was very special for them.
Key athletes competing in ice hockey this year
There will be many talented hockey players at the 2014 Winter Olympics. Some of the best hockey players that will compete are Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Quick, and Alex Ovechkin, who will play for Canada, the United States, and Russia, respectively.
It is worth noting that although many players have been gearing up already to play ice hockey at the Olympics, rosters may still change due to injury, illness, or for other circumstances. For instance, Canadian Steven Stamkos, who broke his tibia on November 11, 2013, is hoping to play in the tournament; and could play a significant role.
Greg Wyshynski, “Steven Stamkos is risen,” Yahoo! Sports.
Steve Keating, “Factbox – Men’s ice hockey at the Sochi Olympics,” Reuters.com.