Hockey At The International Level
For many years professionals were barred from playing at the international level, and now that many Europeans are playing for the NHL, the world championships no longer represent the world's top players. Hockey was an event that's been a part of the Olympic games since 1924 with Canada winning 6 out of 7 gold medals, United States won the gold medal in 1960, Russia won all, but 2 gold medals between 1956 and 1988, but it was professional Americans, Swedish, Finnish, and Canadians that were banned from Olympic competition. U.S. non-pro college students went on to beat the Russians and win the gold medal in 1980 in Lake Placid, New York.
It was then that a new surge in the popularity of the game that most Americans weren't paying too much attention to. The 1972 and 1974 Summit series had solidified Canada and Russia as hockey rivals. The Canadian Cup where the best of the best nations were able to play later followed it. The Canadian cup later became the World Cup of Hockey with the United States winning in 1996 and Canada winning 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. There have been 9 women's competitions and women's hockey has been in the Olympics since 1998 and in the winter of 2006 marked the world championship or Olympic face with Canada and Sweden not Canada and the United States.
Women are coming into the fold on own in this sport and are competing just as hard as males. Females still have a long way to go in terms of really being there with males at the domestic and international levels. Hockey was always that sport dominated by males and yet women still have long way before they're really taken seriously in the hockey world. Hockey is still enjoyed by millions of people in Canada and the United States and still to this day still breaking attendance records by the throngs of loyal fans who still love this sport and has made it a family tradition to go to games and for it becoming a pastime like Americans treat baseball, football and basketball.
Hockey to some people is like poetry on ice it's got its own set of rules and it's a separate world altogether from any other sport whether its professional or not. Hockey to some people is like the air they breathe and people really can get into this sport like it's a soap opera. The whole concept of hockey is just what it is people playing a pretty heavy game that can very physically demanding since you have so many different personalities you're going up against.
Some people will spend hours playing hockey well into the late hours since some rinks will stay open to accommodate those hockey buffs who want to spend 2-3 hours thrashing around a cold rink slapping a hard rubber circle around.
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