The McGill women’s hockey team continued its domination of CIS competition last week, finishing off the Montreal Carabins on the road after winning the series opener at home on Wednesday. With Friday’s series-clincher, the Martlets celebrated their 84th straight win in CIS play, as well as their fifth consecutive conference championship.
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The gold medal is back in its rightful place, safe for another four years. Canada fulfilled its destiny, and another chapter has been added to the legend of Sidney Crosby. But as the last of the champagne is poured and celebrations across the country begin to die down, it’s already time to think ahead, and consider the troubling future of Olympic men’s hockey.
The Redmen came out flying on Saturday night at McConnell Arena, dominating the Ottawa Gee-Gees at both ends of the ice en route to a 9-0 trouncing. With both teams’ playoff fates already sealed before the opening face-off – McGill in, Ottawa out – the Redmen were able to use the game as a tune-up, and judging by their performance, they’ll be able to enter the postseason with some much-needed confidence and momentum.
The newest event in Vancouver could perhaps be the most exciting. The field is pretty wide open, with plenty of emotional storylines. Multiple Canadian women have come out of the woodwork this year, and have a great chance at more than one medal. Mother of two Ophélie David is a pioneer in the sport, and will likely retire after this year.
McGill student Jennifer Heil is – bar none – the best female mogulist in the world. She’s won the last four Freestyle Skiing World Cup events, and rides a tidal wave of momentum into the 2010 Olympics. If she doesn’t bring home gold on the first night of competition, it would be a shocking disappointment.
Remember the name Melissa Hollingsworth: you’ll be hearing a lot about her this month. The Alberta native finished third in Turin, but is the consensus favourite to win gold in Vancouver. Canada has more than one medal threat in this event as well – Amy Gough has slid her way onto the team by posting strong times at World Cup events.
The fastest human-powered sport in the world will offer plenty of excitement for the fans in Vancouver. In the “short-track” events – where skaters race against each other on a track about the size of a hockey rink – South Korea will attempt to repeat their dominating performance in Turin, where they won six out of eight possible gold medals.
For many Canadians, anything less than a gold medal in the Olympic men’s hockey event is unacceptable. Four years ago in Turin, the Russians stunned an entire nation when they blanked Canada 2-0, preventing the Canucks from advancing to the semi-finals. The 2010 edition of the Winter Games is nothing less than a chance at redemption for the tournament favourites.
Olympic gold is Canada’s to lose in Vancouver. After winning easily in Salt Lake City and Turin, Canada will be relying on experience to guide them to the top of the podium once again. Canadian legends Kim St. Pierre and Hayley Wickenheiser are back, along with superstar McGill goaltender Charline Labonté, but the team will be without veteran Danielle Goyette for the first time since the 1998 Games.
While Jamaica will not be participating in bobsleigh next week, there’s no need to fret, as this will remain one of the most exciting events at the Olympics. The biggest stars in the sport will be out at the Whistler Sliding Centre to compete in the four-man, two-man, and two-woman events.