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European International Ice Hockey Tournaments

Jul 24, 2008
You may not realize that Canada is the country of origin for hockey, because it is so widely played throughout Europe and the United States. There are many differences in the three regions attitudes, however; the international men's ice hockey world championships are looked forward to in Europe and less so in America because it coincides with the Stanley cup playoffs. For countries with a large number of NHL players, rounding up the best players of the sport is difficult, because many of them are playing for the Stanley cup trophy.

The world championships do not accurately reflect the world's top players; this has not been true since the barring of professionals from playing for the NHL ended and Europeans began playing at an international level. Hockey was an event that's been a part of the Olympic Games since 1924 with Canada winning 6 out of 7 gold medals. Russia won all the gold medals but two between 1956 and 1988, the United States on the gold medal in 1960, and the professional Americans, Swedish, Finnish and Canadian players were all baned from Olympic competition in the late twentieth-century. U.S. Non-pro College students went on to beat the Russians and win the gold medal in 1980 in Lake Placid, New York.

These were the years that the sport began experiencing a revival of popularity; though most Americans weren't paying much attention to the sport at the time. The 1972 and 1974 Summit series had solidified Canada and Russia as hockey rivals. The best players benefited from this, as it gave rise to the Canadian Cup, which only deals with the world's best players. The name of the Canadian Cup was altered to the World Cup of Hockey and following that decision the United States won the match in 1996; Canada won in 2004. Since 1998 NHL professionals have played in the Olympics giving the top players more opportunity to compete and face off with other professional players from different countries. Women have made their mark upon this sport, as well; there have been nine women's competitions and the women's game has been part of the Olympics since 1998.

Because women play just as hard a game as men, they are definitely being seen more and more as a serious sport all their own. In many ways, however, women still have a long road ahead of them if they wish to be on equal footing. Women are competing in a sport that has traditionally only been played by men, so they will have a long road ahead in order to be taken seriously as players. Attendance records are regularly smashed by the millions of loyal fans in the U.S. and Canada alone who love this sport. It is treated as a traditional past time, much like some Americans treat baseball, football, or basketball.

The world of hockey is a world unto itself, and that is true whether it is being played by professionals or amateurs. People get as wrapped up in this sport as some do soap operas, and truly treat it like the air they breathe. Many people will spend hours, late into the night, practicing the game.
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