With USA and Team Canada set to square off Thursday, there has been a debate since the beginning of the Olympics on whether or not women’s hockey is as competitive as men’s hockey.
Other teams are slowly starting to develop their talent and teams are keeping games a lot closer than in 2010.
No team has reached double digits in terms of goals allowed and goals scored, as the competition is getting better whereas in 2010 Team Canada stomped most of their opponents in route to gold.
This year, however, the competition has definitely stepped up its game.
The Finnish squad gave Team Canada a scare as they nearly pulled out a win against them in the preliminary round and Canada squeaked by with an eruption of goals near the end of the game. Finnish goaltender Noora Raty played valiantly and kept her team in the game. Canada may have won on the scoreboard but Raty won in the eyes of fans as her play was not only entertaining but also spectacular.
Raty’s play also lit the beacon that women’s hockey is not dead– far from having one foot in the grave. It is just getting started. Yeah, fans enjoy the blood bath rivalry of Team USA and Team Canada but other teams are just now showing up to the party.
It’s a lot harder for some other teams that do not have the resources that Team Canada and Team USA have. Most of their focus is still with the men’s tournament but women’s hockey is picking up and with players like Raty being showcased to the world, it will only get better as time goes on.
What people tend to forget is that men’s hockey went through the same scenario, especially in the States. Until the 1980 Olympics, men’s hockey in the US was really an afterthought but with the Cold War happening and tension rising, it was a significant tilt that essentially put men’s hockey on the spot, it could be said for 2002 and most recently 2010.
Women’s hockey will need their own 1980-type performance and it will come in time.
For now, Team Canada and Team USA will lead the way as they have so far. They will have to continue to lead the way and carry women’s hockey but other teams will eventually catch up.
Women’s hockey may not get the recognition that the men’s hockey gets but like all things, it only takes time and patience. So when watching Team USA and Team Canada have it out for the gold medal round think of it this way, it’s only the beginning of something beautiful and the world should bask in the moment and appreciate the talent assembled.
It’s just as good as the men’s competition because the same passion of compete is there.