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USA-Canada Rivalry Ready for Latest Chapter

By Ryan Williamson, 03/31/17, 9:45AM EDT


Teams face off tonight to open 2017 IIHF Women's World Championship live on NHL Network

For Team USA forward Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson, just talking about the U.S.-Canada rivalry gives her goosebumps.

“There’s no better feeling in the world,” Lamoureux-Davidson told NBC Sports prior to Team USA taking on Canada in December in the Winter Champions Series. “It’s like any other game, but on steroids.”

Year in and year out, these two countries’ contentious rivalry is renewed on the international stage. It will happen once again at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich., at the 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championship.

The U.S. and Canada will face off to open the tournament on March 31 live on NHL Network in front of a packed crowd.

This will be the 26th time these two teams have played at the World Championships and the first since Team USA’s 1-0 win at the 2016 World Championship in Kamloops, British Columbia. The U.S. enters this tournament winning six of the past seven World Championships.

Matching up in the gold-medal game of this tournament has become a yearly tradition for these rivals. All 17 Women’s World Championship gold medal games have been decided between the U.S. and Canada.

In these 17 matchups, Team USA is 7-10 all-time against Canada in gold medal games. The U.S. claimed its first championship in 2005 after eight previous gold-medal game losses. Since that monumental win, Team USA has lost just twice when playing Canada for world championship bragging rights.

Aside from their meetings at the World Championships, the rivalry between these two countries has been elevated by memorable matchups on the Olympic stage. It started in 1998 when Team USA defeated Canada in Nagano Japan, at the first Winter Olympic Games to feature women’s hockey.

“[The rivalry] is fierce. It’s something that motivates these players,” said A.J. Mleczko, who was a part of that historic 1998 U.S. squad. “It makes them raise their game every time they step on the ice. It makes fun for all of us to watch.”

The U.S. heads into this year’s tournament as the host for the first time since 2012. It’s the fourth time they’ve hosted this event. Thus far, Team USA has yet to win a gold medal on American soil.

And while this will be a chance for the U.S. to avenge previous gold-medal game losses at home, it will also be the last time these two teams play in a major international tournament before the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

With all of this in mind, expect these two teams to be on their ‘A’ game when the puck drops for this year’s tournament.

“It’s fast and it’s always physical. It’s an incredible product,” said Team USA captain Meghan Duggan. “I love being a part of this rivalry, and so does our team.” 

- Williamson is an editorial assistant with USA Hockey Magazine

Team USA Home

U.S. Roster

Event Info/Tickets

Date Opponent Round Time (ET)/Result U.S. Player of Game
Fri., March 31 Canada Preliminary W, 2-0 Nicole Hensley
Sat., April 1 Russia Preliminary W, 7-0 Kendall Coyne
Mon., April 3 Finland Preliminary W, 5-3 Hannah Brandt
Thurs., April 6 Germany Semifinal W, 11-0 Kendall Coyne
Fri., April 7 Canada Gold-Medal Game W, 3-2 OT Kacey Bellamy


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