2010 Winter Olympics: Ice Hockey Medal Favorites

The ice hockey games at the Vancouver Winter Olympics of 2010 are among the most anticipated events. Ice hockey is probably the most Canadian of sports and at Vancouver, the Canadian men and women are both medal favorites. There’ll be stiff competition, however, as there are several teams that are in medal contention.

Women

Canada (No. 1 seed)

The Canadian women have led the world in hockey. They’ve won 2 golds and a silver medal in the three past Olympics that have had a women's hockey competition. This year's team includes Hayley Wickenheiser, who many think is the best women's hockey player in the world. With a great combination of veterans and newcomers, this team is the team to beat.

United States (No. 2 seed)

The American hockey team has been on a downward swing in Olympic competition, going from gold in Nagano to a bronze in Torino, but they’ve recently been making a comeback. Now coached by Mark Johnson, a Miracle on Ice player, the team has come back to win the 2008 and 2009 World Championship titles. They have momentum on their side.

Finland (No. 3 seed)

The Finns are almost always in the medal rounds. They won a silver medal in the 2006 Olympics and they earned a bronze medal at the 2008 and 2009 World Championships. They've also beaten the current American women’s team. So, with the right circumstances, they could surprise the top ranked teams.

Sweden (No. 4 seed)

Sweden is a sleeping giant. This team shut out USA from the gold medal round in 2006 and they’ve also upset the Canadian team in competition. Kim Martin was named best goaltender in the 2006 Olympics for stopping America’s 30 goal attempts. She has been working with the Swedish men’s team, which should make her even stronger than she was before.

Men

Canada (No. 1 seed)

The Canadian men are strong, but they’re not as consistent as the women’s team. After a dismal 7th place finish in Torino, the Canadian men will have something to prove in Vancouver. The men’s team is packed with fabulous players. They’re biggest challenge will be the pressure of performing well on the home soil.

Russia (No. 2 seed)

The Russian team is another strong gold medal hopeful. They’ve built their team on amazing goal tending. They’ve combined that with great offence. On paper, Canada and Russia are equally matched, but for some reason the Russian squad has missed out on Olympic gold for the past few years. The Russians are always contenders, but they’ve had to contend with injuries that get in the way of their success.

Sweden (No. 3 seed)

Sweden won the gold medal at the 2006 games. They are looking to defend that title, but it won’t be easy. There’s been a lot of changes to Swedish team — a lot of the veterans are retired now, so the team has a lot of young guns.

Finland (No. 4 seed):

The Finns are often overlooked, but they have what it takes to win a medal. They won the silver in Torino and they stay close to the medals in recent international competition. They have amazing goal tending abilities and a deep roster of NHL players.

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