Ten teams will be competing for medals in women’s hockey at the Winter Olympics, but in the eyes of most experts, only two of them have any real chances of walking away with gold in Beijing.
The United States and Canada once again come in as the heavy favorites to face off in the gold medal game in the women’s hockey tournament at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
USA, Canada dominate Olympic women’s hockey
The two countries have accounted for all six gold medals in women’s hockey, with Canada winning four of those. The Americans took gold in 2018, however, beating Canada 3-2 after a shootout in the gold medal game.
Only one other team has ever finished in the top two, as Sweden took a surprise silver in 2006. DraftKings Sportsbook lists Team USA as the -115 favorite to take gold in 2022, just ahead of Canada (-105).
“This rivalry is like no other,” US defender Savannah Harmon told USA Today. “We definitely take advantage of every game we get to play against them and I think that shows on both sides. Everybody’s out there battling … we’re here to fight and we’re here to show pride for our country and we’re going to do anything we can to win. I think that’s where the rivalry heats up every time.”
The Americans and Canadians will get an early opportunity to size each other up in the round-robin portion of the tournament. Because of the wide gulf in talent in women’s hockey, the top five teams play in Group A, with all five reaching the quarterfinals. The bottom five teams will play their own round-robin in Group B, with only the top three moving on to the medal rounds.
Finland best contender outside of big two
If any team can break up the North American hegemony, Finland stands the best chance. The Finns have won three bronze medals in women’s hockey, and have shown the ability to pull an occasional upset against the top two. Finland managed to grab a silver medal when it hosted the 2019 World Championships, even taking the United States to a shootout in the final before losing.
|Olympic Women’s Hockey Odds (via DraftKings Sportsbook)
|Czech Republic: +5000
Still, even Finland comes in as a +1400 long shot to win gold. The odds only get steeper from there.
Both the Russian Olympic Committee (+3500) and Switzerland (+5000) will automatically make the quarterfinals thanks to their positioning in Group A, but both are unlikely to challenge the USA or Canada. Meanwhile, Japan (+5000), Sweden (+5000), and the Czech Republic (+5000) are clear favorites to advance out of Group B over the overmatched teams from Denmark (+10000) and China (+30000). But snagging a medal by upsetting the Group A powerhouses would be a tall task for any of those teams.
The women’s hockey tournament at the Beijing Winter Olympics begins on Feb. 3, when China faces off against the Czech Republic. The event concludes with the gold medal game on Feb. 17.