Tag Archives: Sochi Olympics

It’s time to get serious about women’s hockey


It was one of the great highlights of the Sochi Olympics: Down 2-0 with three and a half minutes remaining in the gold-medal game, Canada’s women’s hockey team mounts an improbable comeback, with a goal by Brianne Jenner and another with less than a minute left from Marie-Philip Poulin to send the game to overtime, where Poulin would strike again to make Canada the Olympic champion once again.

It was no Miracle On Ice. The Canada-U.S. final was given before the tournament even started, and Canada had won the gold in the three previous winter Olympics. But in terms of sheer excitement and the holy-crap-did-that-just-happen feeling, it was hard to beat.

Now, with the Olympics over, the male players return to their professional teams in the NHL, KHL or other leagues. The women, meanwhile, return to relative obscurity.

It’s unfortunate that while the NHL gets all the attention, the women’s hockey players that created such a spectacle at the Olympics get so little three years out of every four. The Canadiens sell out the Bell Centre for 41 games a year even though tickets cost $100 to $400 apiece, the concessions are wildly overpriced, the team is often mediocre and the players don’t speak French.

Meanwhile, at the Étienne Desmarteau arena, the Montreal Stars team of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League struggles to fill seats 12 games a year with $10 ticket prices, incredibly cheap food, players that are mostly from here and who always stay after games to give autographs to anyone who wants them.

And they’re also good. How good? Going into this weekend’s games, the Stars are riding a 20-game unbeaten streak in regulation. The only game they lost in 60 minutes was the season opener in Boston. Their record this season is a ridiculous 18-1-2, their record at home is a perfect 10-0-0, and they have more than twice as many goals for as goals against (91 vs. 40). All four of the top points leaders in the league play for this team.

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Alternative Sochi medal table

Country/region Gold Silver Bronze Total
Planet Earth 99 97 99 295
Countries with red in their flags 95 87 91 273
Every country except Russia 86 86 90 262
Europe (includes Russia) 73 67 73 213
Axis powers, its allies and occupied states 49 41 52 142
European Union 43 51 52 146
Roman Empire 33 34 40 107
Holy Roman Empire 30 32 33 95
Eastern Bloc 29 21 18 68
North America 19 17 17 53
Soviet Union 19 13 14 46
Landlocked countries 18 15 11 44
Scandinavia 14 15 17 46
British Empire 12 14 15 41
Poland if it stole all of Germany’s medals (payback’s a bitch, ain’t it?) 12 7 6 25
Commonwealth 11 13 8 32
Athletes named Alex, Alexander, Alexey or Alexis 10 7 3 20
Austro-Hungarian Empire 9 15 11 35
Netherlands speedskating team 8 7 8 23
Asia (not including Russia) 7 11 8 26
Rest of Canada 5 6 3 14
Norwegian cross-country team 5 2 4 11
South Korea if it stole all of Victor An’s medals 5 1 2 8
Dutch speed skaters Ireen Wust and Sven Kramer together (not that we’re suggesting anything) 4 4 0 8
Red states 4 1 0 5
Czechoslovakia 3 4 2 9
Blue states 3 3 6 12
Quebec 3 3 2 8
East Germany 3 3 1 7
Countries starting with “Slov” 3 2 4 9
West Germany 3 2 3 8
Darya Domracheva 3 0 0 3
Marit Bjoergen 3 0 0 3
Swedish cross-country team 2 5 4 11
Swing states*/red-blue mixed 2 3 5 10
Yugoslavia 2 3 4 9
Ahuntsic (the Dufour-Lapointe home) 1 1 0 2
Charles Hamelin/Marianne St-Gelais when embracing 1 1 0 2
Southern hemisphere 0 2 1 3
Me 0 0 0 0

*Defined as a state that has voted for both parties for president since 2000.