1924 saw the first Ice Hockey tournament that was contested at the Winter Olympics having previously been contested at the summer version of the games in 1920.
Although it did take until 1998 to add a women’s competition to the Olympic programme – The Olympic Games were originally intended for amateur athletes until 1988, and the National Hockey League (NHL) did not allow its players to compete until 1998. People who bet on hockey will be glad they are now included.
Canada dominated the early competitions at the Olympics winning six of the first seven Gold medals that were awarded; the other in 1936 was won by Great Britain. After WW2 it was the Soviet Union that took over as the dominant force in Olympic Ice Hockey winning all but two of the competitions up until 1988, that winning streak only being interrupted by two wins by the USA, the first in 1960 and the second far more well-known one in 1980. In that year in Lake Placid the US team which was made up of amateur and collegiate players and led by coach Herb Brooks, defeated the Soviet team, who were considered to be the best ice hockey team in the world at the time and that win is commonly known as the “Miracle On Ice”.
Canada who were the earlier pacesetters in Olympic Ice Hockey went nearly 50 years before they triumphed again but they did in 2002 before following up in their home Olympics in 2010 – a feat they were under tremendous pressure to complete. Other nations to win gold include Sweden in 1994 and 2006 and the Czech Republic in 1998. Fans of live hockey online will know the Olympics offers up some top notch action.
The tournament looks very different now as the majority of the teams are allowed to include their NHL stars and with the addition of the women’s tournament winning the Olympic title holds considerable kudos. The Canadian and American teams have dominated the women’s event, typically losing only to each other. The United States won the first tournament in 1998, while Canada won in 2002, 2006 and 2010.