IIHF head: Women’s hockey good enough for Olympics
OTTAWA (AP) — The head of the International Ice Hockey Federation believes the 2013 women’s world hockey championship has been competitive enough to quell any threat of the sport being dropped from the Olympics.
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge said at the conclusion of the 2010 Winter Olympic women’s hockey tournament that “we cannot continue without improvement.”
Five women’s games at those Olympics were won by nine goals or more.
Rogge’s implied threat to boot women’s hockey out of the Games led the IIHF into putting more resources into the game. IIHF president Rene Fasel doesn’t believe women’s hockey is at risk in the Winter Olympics.
“I don’t think there will be a problem there,” Fasel said at the women’s world championship
“I cannot imagine that an IOC president would kick women’s hockey out of the program. I can’t imagine that. But you never know. They get kicked wrestling out, so ...”
The IOC hasn’t officially eliminated wrestling from the Summer Games menu, but the IOC’s executive committee has recommended that sport be dropped in 2020.
Heading into Tuesday’s medal games of the last women’s world championship before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, only one game had a goal differential of more than nine goals. Canada beat Russia 13-0 in the preliminary round.
But fewer embarrassing scores is also due to a new tournament format in which the bottom two countries in the preliminary round never meet the top two countries in the tournament.
After not winning a single game at the 2012 women’s world championship, Russia will play Finland for bronze Tuesday. The Swiss women won bronze in 2012 for its first medal.
Sweden, the 2006 Olympic silver medalist, dropped to seventh at this world championship, so there is movement now behind the U.S. and Canada.
Fasel doesn’t expect the gap between the North Americans and the rest of the world to close in Sochi, but believes it could happen four years after that in Pyeonchang, South Korea.
“Our goal is to be more competitive in (South) Korea in 2018,” he said. “We need that time to go there.”
Fasel says he would like to see the field increase from eight to 10 women’s teams in the Winter Olympics in the future.