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Ice Hockey

The Canadian Olympic Hockey Team

For many in Canada, hockey is the premier event of the winter Olympic Games. There are few events that can capture our attention as a nation like Olympic hockey, which is officially referred to as Ice Hockey on the Olympic program.

Hockey is embedded into Canada’s identity as a nation.

Check out the Sochi 2014 Men’s Ice Hockey Team

Check out the Sochi 2014 Women’s Ice Hockey Team

We have a consistent record of excellence in international competition, with the most Olympic hockey gold medals of any nation.

Indeed at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, both the men’s and women’s Olympic hockey teams will be looking to defend gold medals.

Take a look at where Canada’s Sochi 2014 Men’s Ice Hockey athletes call home

Take a look at where Canada’s Sochi 2014 Women’s Ice Hockey athletes call home

Olympic Hockey Rulebook

Olympic Hockey Rulebook

A regulation Olympic hockey game consists of three 20-minute periods and two 15-minute intermissions. No games can end in a tie, so teams break deadlocks in an overtime period or, if needed, a shoot-out.

Two of the most significant changes in Olympic hockey came in 1998. For the first time, the games included women’s hockey, removing a major gender barrier in the Olympics. The other significant change was North America’s National Hockey League (NHL) deciding to allow its players to play in the Olympics. This increased the level of competition in the games. Both of these changes benefited Canada’s medal count, with our women’s team a dominant force in the competition and our best adult male players – most of who were in the NHL – now allowed to play for Team Canada in the Olympics.

Men’s ice hockey first became an Olympic sport in the 1920 Summer Olympics. In 1924, it was transferred to the Winter Olympics, where it has stayed ever since. Women’s ice hockey was introduced to the Olympic programme in 1998.

Team Canada Roster

Hockey Canada oversees our country’s national ice hockey team, which represents Canada internationally. It is an organization with a long history of excellence of which Canadians are rightly proud and is represented by the great honour in wearing a team Canada hockey jersey.

The Team Canada roster includes many of the best male professional hockey players in the NHL among its ranks. The actual 2014 Olympic teams were finalized in January 2014. On the men’s side, the named athletes are indeed stars of the NHL.

Patrice Bergeron, Sidney Crosby, Rick Nash, Steven Stamkos and Jonathan Toews are just a few marquee players poised to wear a team Canada jersey in Sochi.

Canada’s Olympic hockey team also has the advantage of an excellent coaching and management staff, led by executive director Steve Yzerman and head coach Mike Babcock, the team is supported by some of the best minds in the hockey world.

Hockey: A Sport at the Heart of Canada

The first Olympic hockey tournament was held at the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games. The following Winter Olympics, held in Chamonix in 1924, included men’s ice hockey. The sport has remained a favourite event of the Olympics ever since.

In 1988, for the first time ever, the International Olympic Committee allowed professional athletes to join the competition. The NHL, however, barred players from joining the Canadian Olympic hockey team until the 1998 Nagano Olympics. This year also coincided with the first Olympic ice hockey tournament for women at the Nagano games. The Canadian women’s hockey team has since been a great source of pride for the country, winning gold medals in three of the four Olympic Games.

The origins of hockey are unclear. Both Europeans and first nations peoples played games with a stick and ball in the past. The Mi'kmaq played a ball games called tooadijik and lacrosse (which remains Canada’s national sport) while Europeans played similar games including Irish hurling and Icelandic knattleikr. Ice hockey is probably a cross of both traditions, which were then applied to the cold winter conditions of Canada. Whatever its origins, the first recorded use of “hockey” was written down in the late 18th century.

Structured ice hockey was born in eastern Canada in the early-to-mid-19th century. The word ‘hockey’ likely comes from the old French word “hocquet,” meaning stick.

Montreal was home for many of hockey’s firsts. The first pre-announced hockey game was March 3, 1875, in which two named teams played on a confined ice surface, the names of players were recorded, a score was kept, and the game was played with “a flat circular piece of wood.”

This game marked the beginning of a rapid rise in hockey’s popularity, with a group of McGill university students founding the first hockey club in 1877. Within a few years, the game had become so popular that Montreal hosted the first ever “world championship” of ice hockey in 1883. Two years later, the city established the Montreal Hockey League.

Organized hockey spread like wildfire across Canada, the United States and Europe, with leagues forming in many cities and towns. In 1893, the Montreal Hockey Club received a trophy from Governor General Lord Stanley of Preston to recognize their Amateur Hockey Association of Canada championship. This trophy came to be known as the Stanley Cup and remains the championship trophy for the NHL to this day.

Professional hockey became increasingly popular during the first decades of the 2oth century, eventually leading to the birth of North America’s National Hockey League in 1917.

A History of Olympic Hockey Glory

The men’s gold medal game of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics was the most watched television event in Canadian history. Canada's Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium claimed that two thirds of the Canadian population (22 million people) watched the final Olympic hockey game. Sidney Crosby’s “Golden Goal” to end the game, shot seven minutes into overtime, was celebrated in homes across the country. This defeat of the US team on Canadian soil is very possibly Canada’s greatest hockey moment to date and could be one of this country’s greatest sporting moments of all time.

With much of the 2010 Canadian Olympic team coming back, likely including Sidney Crosby, the country is positioned to defend its unforgettable gold medal. In the decades that followed Hockey’s entrance to the Olympics, Canada dominated the sport. Canada’s Olympic hockey team won gold medals in six of the first seven Olympic competitions, coming in second only once versus Great Britain. Canada’s victory over the United States in 1952, unfortunately, was the last time Canada would win an Olympic gold medal for the next 50 years.

For much of the Cold War period, the Soviet Union dominated Olympic hockey. The communist nation won 7 out of 9 gold medals between 1956 and 1988. This was in part a result of the Soviet Union’s huge investment in amateur sport as a sign of national strength. It was also, however, a result of the ban on professional players in the Olympic Games. This ban prevented Canadian NHL players, who were among the best hockey players in the world, from joining the Olympic team.

The 1972 Canada-USSR series (now known as the Summit Series) demonstrated Canada’s continuing strength as a hockey super power. It was also the first use of the name “Team Canada.” This was meant to be a true match of Canada’s best against those of the Soviet Union, as the series allowed the use of professional players. The Summit Series was hard fought on both sides and led to intense nationalist sensations in both countries. In the end, with seconds left in the final game of the series, Canadian Paul Henderson made a heroic goal to win the series.

In recent winter Olympics, following the opening of the NHL to allowing Olympic play in 1998, Canada has had a resurgence. With gold medals in 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Canada surged back into the Olympic Hockey spotlight.



At Sochi 2014 there will be 12 teams divided into three groups. Group A: Russia, Slovakia, United States, Slovenia - Group B: Finland, Canada, Norway, Austria - Group C: Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, Latvia The preliminary round for the tournament is a round robin within each group. No teams are eliminated from medal contention based on the preliminary round results. The top four teams from the preliminary round (the three group winners and the second place team with the best record) receive a bye into the quarterfinals. The remaining eight teams play a qualification playoff game. The four winners of the qualification playoff games advance to the quarterfinals to face one of the four teams that received a bye. Quarterfinal winners will advance to the semifinals. Semifinal winners advance to play for gold and silver while the semifinal losers play for bronze.


At Sochi 2014 there will be eight teams divided into two groups - Group A: Canada, United States, Finland, Switzerland - Group B: Sweden, Russia, Germany, Japan - The preliminary round for the tournament is a round robin within each group. The major change since Vancouver 2010 is that the preliminary round will take place in two tiers. Group A consists of teams ranked 1-4 by the IIHF while Group B is comprised of the teams ranked 5-8. All the teams from Group A will advance from the preliminary round along with the top two teams from Group B. The top two teams from Group A will receive a bye into the semifinals. The first place team in Group A will face the winner of the quarterfinal matchup featuring the fourth place team from Group A and the first place team from Group B. The second place team in Group A will face the winner of the quarterfinal matchup featuring the third place team from Group A and the second place team from Group B. The semifinal winners advance to play for gold and silver while the semifinal losers play for bronze.

Canadian Medallists







GoldWinnipeg FalconsAntwerp 1920Men -
GoldToronto GranitesChamonix 1924Men -
GoldUniversity of Toronto GradsSt. Moritz 1928Men -
GoldThe WinnipegsLake Placid 1932Men -
GoldRCAF FlyersSt. Moritz 1948Men -
GoldEdmonton MercurysOslo 1952Men -
GoldTeam CanadaSalt Lake City 2002Men -
GoldCanadian National Women’s TeamSalt Lake City 2002Women -
GoldCanadian National Women’s TeamTurin 2006Women -
GoldTeam CanadaVancouver 2010Men -
GoldCanadian National Women’s TeamVancouver 2010Women -
SilverPort Arthur BearcatsGarmisch-Partenkirchen 1936Men -
SilverKitchener-Waterloo DutchmenSquaw Valley 1960Men -
SilverCanadian National TeamAlbertville 1992Men -
SilverCanadian National TeamLillehammer 1994Men -
BronzeCanadian National Women’s TeamNagano 1998Men -
BronzeKitchener-Waterloo DutchmenCortina d'Ampezzo 1956Men -
BronzeCanadian National TeamGrenoble 1968Men -
Olympic Club

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Day 16 Recap: Canada ends Toronto 2015 with 217 medals

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Rio 2016

Rio 2016

History will be made in 2016 when Rio de Janeiro, Brazil hosts the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, marking the first time that a South American country will welcome the world to an Olympic Games. It is also just the third time that the Games will be held in the southern hemisphere, following Melbourne 1956 and Sydney 2000.

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