Pyeongchang 2018

Menu Mobile

Emerging talent and colliding superpowers – five reasons to follow ice hockey in PyeongChang

PARK CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 26:  Ice Hockey player Hilary Knight poses for a portrait during the Team USA Media Summit ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games on September 26, 2017 in Park City, Utah.  (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Ice hockey has produced some of the biggest stories in the history of the Winter Games. Here are five reasons why the men’s and women’s events are a must-watch sport at PyeongChang 2018:

The absence of NHL superstars

Now, it might seem strange to list this as a positive, but the absence of the best players in the world should make the men’s ice hockey tournament more exciting and competitive in PyeongChang. USA and Canada – the sport’s two superpowers – will be affected most, because their teams are usually made up exclusively of NHL players. But that will give the other teams, such as Russia and Sweden, more of a chance.

A chance to shine

With the NHL stars absent, the USA and Canada teams will be made up of players from overseas, the minor leagues and college hockey. That means opportunity knocks for the new wave. USA coach Tony Granato said: “We’ll be able to put together a fun team, an energetic team and a skilled team that will make America proud.”

Superpowers collide in women’s event

Canada have won women’s gold for the last four Olympic Games. Little wonder the US team, ranked number one in the world going into PyeongChang, are so desperate to usurp their near neighbours. “It’s gold or bust,” admitted forward Hilary Knight (above).

Fervent home support

The Republic of Korea are appearing for the first time in both the men’s and women’s tournaments and can expect strong backing from the home supporters. There’s a strong US influence on both, with Jim Paek, a two-time Stanley Cup winner, and Sarah Murray coaching the sides. The crowds really took to the sport at the pre-Olympic test events.

Shiny new surroundings

Two gleaming new venues have been built to host ice hockey at the 2018 Games – the 10,000-capacity Gangneung Hockey Centre and 6,000 Kwandong centre. Players said they were seriously impressed after playing in front of packed-out crowds at the test events.


Founding Partners