Monday, April 14, 2008

USA beats Canada--twice!

The Women's Hockey World Championships concluded this past Saturday in Harbin, China. Needless to say media coverage of the event was not that forthcoming but I knew the championships would be winding up this weekend so I went searching for some information (which is almost all via the Canadian press).
And guess what? The US won! That hasn't happened in quite a while and only once since women's hockey has had an international championship. So yeah!
Also of note was the fact that my favorite collegiate team, the UNH Wildcats, was well-represented in China. Forward Sam Faber and defensewoman Kacey Bellamy both played for team USA. And the Marty twins lead Team Switzerland to the bronze medal (which they unfortunately lost to a strong Finnish team).
The championship win was a big deal for team USA which has found it difficult historically to notch a win over Canada in the world championships. Thus year they had to do it twice. Last Thursday the US had to beat Canada to avoid being sent to the bronze medal game. They did. And then they built on that momentum Saturday in what sounded like a very exciting 4-3 win.
The most interesting part of the championship though was the coaching. I am pretty sure this is the first time Team USA has been coached by a woman, Jackie Barto out of Ohio State. I was a little miffed when USA Hockey chose the Wisconsin head coach as the national team coach last year. This was after years of Ben Smith (who is still listed as a "national team advisor") resigned and even suggested the team be coached by a woman. So I am pleased that Barto had such immediate success.
But equally as interesting is that Team Canada was coached by a man, Peter Smith (former assistant coach) for the first time perhaps ever in the program's history (I didn't verify this information so don't go off saying "But ken said..."). Canada had made a commitment to putting a woman at the helm. They might want to reconsider...

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