• SETH ON SPORTS 28.02.2014

    As evidence for my claim in THE HUMBLE LIE that Canadian humility could be more reputation than truth if we continue celebrating self-celebrating in schools and Olympic coverage, I would like to provide me as an example. You see, although I do not believe in beating one’s own’s chest, I will now get close to it by over-cheering for the success of my own country’s hockey dominance at the 2014 Olympics and, in fact, the majority of best-on-best men’s and women’s hockey tournaments. (My commentary regarding boasting in my previous post was all just a segue to my joy in this regard.) Canada is the best at hockey, and has been for a long time as demonstrated by the following results.

    MEN’S BEST ON BEST ICE HOCKEY TOURNAMENTS*:


    *Olympic Hockey Tournaments prior to 1998 were not “best on best” entanglements because the NHL (in which a majority of the world’s top players have long made their living) did not yet lend its workers to the Olympics every four years.

    1976 Canada Cup
    1. Canada
    2. Czechoslovakia
    3. Soviet Union
    4. Sweden

    1981 Canada Cup
    1. Soviet Union
    2. Canada
    3. Czechoslovakia
    4. USA

    1984 Canada Cup
    1. Canada
    2. Sweden
    3. Soviet Union
    4. USA

    1987 Canada Cup
    1. Canada
    2. Soviet Union
    3. Sweden
    4. Czechoslovakia

    1991 Canada Cup
    1. Canada
    2. USA
    3. Finland
    4. Sweden

    1996 World Cup
    1. USA**
    2. Canada
    3. Sweden
    4. Russia

    **This was a controversial victory. Canadian born and raised star Brett Hull (son of retired Canadian star Bobby Hull) played for the USA because he hadn’t (yet) been good enough to make the 1986 Canadian World Championship team.  Since he officially had dual citizenship because his mother was American, he thereafter played for the USA (even when he subsequently became a superstar and was good enough to play for his home country), and he refused to ever again try for Canada since they were so mean not to select him when he was starting his career. (Brett Hull’s picture is now included in most dictionaries next to the word “petty.”) Canada was up 2-1 in the championship game when Mr. Hull scored a goal that was patently illegal because his stick was at shoulder height when he touched the puck. (One’s stick cannot be above four feet to score a goal; based on Hull’s height with skates on, his head had to be approximately 2 feet long for the goal to be legal. We know Hull has a big head, but that seemed too large even for him.) Strangely, however, the goal was allowed. Later, another dual-citizenship born-and-raised Canadian, playing for the USA, Adam Deadmarsh, scored a game-breaking goal on a clearly offside play. Pundit/ranter Don Cherry of Hockey Night in Canada has suggested that then Boston Bruins’ GM (and former coach of Canada’s team in the 1972 Summit Series) Harry Sinden persuaded the officials to allow the Hull goal to stand because he thought it would improve American interest in hockey. I have no idea if that’s true, but something strange was afoot (“askate”?).

    1998 Olympics
    1. Czech Republic
    2. Russia
    3. Finland
    4. Canada***

    ***For the first time in history, Canada did not make the championship game. It should be noted, however, that Canada was eliminated in a game that was tied 1-1 after one overtime period, and which Canada was dominating (in terms of scoring chances). The epic match was stopped by international rules and decided on a shootout (which is akin to deciding a basketball game via a free throw shooting contest, or a baseball game via a bowling contest between pitchers to see who can throw the most strikes).

    2002 Olympics
    1. Canada
    2. USA
    3. Russia
    4. Belarus

    2004 World Cup
    1. Canada
    2. Finland
    3. Czech Republic
    4. USA

    2006 Olympics****
    1. Sweden
    2. Finland
    3. Czech Republic
    4. Russia

    ****I have no excuse for our absence on the podium for this one. As my sister Tarrin said at the time, it seems we forgot to pack a goal scorer for this tournament. If only Team GM Wayne Gretzky (who had brilliantly sired the previous two championships, and had played for Canada’s best from 1981 through 1998) had decided to select then rookie scoring star, Sidney Crosby, we might have faired better. Oh, look at that, I had an excuse, after all.

    2010 Olympics
    1. Canada
    2. USA
    3. Finland
    4. Slovakia

    2014 Olympics
    1. Canada
    2. Sweden
    3. Finland
    4. USA

    OVERALL IN 12 MEN’S BEST ON BEST TOURNAMENTS:
(Giving 4 points for 1st, 3 points for second, 2 points for 3rd, 1 point for 4th).

    1. Canada (8 x 1st, 2 x 2nd, 1 x 4th): 39 points
    2. Soviet Union/Russia (1 x 1st, 2 x 2nd, 3 x 3rd, 2 x 4th): 18 points
    3. USA (1 x 1st, 3 x 3rd, 4 x 4th): 17 points
    4. Sweden (1 x 1st, 2 x 2nd, 2 x 3rd, 2 x 4th): 16 points
    5. Finland (2 x 2nd, 4 x 3rd): 14 points
    5. Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic (1 x 1st, 1 x 2nd, 3 x 3rd, 1 x 4th): 14 points
    7. Czechoslovakia/Slovakia (1 x 2nd, 1 x 3rd, 2 x 4th): 7 points
    8. Belarus (1 x 4th): 1point

    WOMEN’S BEST ON BEST ICE HOCKEY TOURNAMENTS:

    1990 World Championship
    1. Canada
    2. USA
    3. Finland
    4. Sweden

    1992 World Championship
    1. Canada
    2. USA
    3. Finland
    4. Sweden

    1994 World Championship
    1. Canada
    2. USA
    3. Finland
    4. China

    1997 World Championship
    1. Canada
    2. USA
    3. Finland
    4. China

    1998 Olympics*****
    1. USA
    2. Canada
    3. Finland
    4. China

    *****After four straight Canadian World Championship victories, the Americans took the first ever Olympics in which women competed for ice hockey gold. It was a stick-breaker.

    1999 World Championship
    1. Canada
    2. USA
    3. Finland
    4. Sweden

    2000 World Championship
    1. Canada
    2. USA
    3. Finland
    4. Sweden

    2001 World Championship
    1. Canada
    2. USA
    3. Russia
    4. Finland

    2002 Olympics
    1. Canada
    2. USA
    3. Sweden
    4. Finland

    2004 World Championship
    1. Canada
    2. USA
    3. Finland
    4. Sweden

    2005 World Championship
    1. USA
    2. Canada
    3. Sweden
    4. Finland

    2006 Olympics
    1. Canada
    2. Sweden
    3. USA******
    4. Finland

    ******This was the first and only time (so far) in history that the championship game was not played between Canada and the USA. I might have felt bad for the Americans if I wasn’t so glad to have a less scary gold medal game to watch.

    2007 World Championship
    1. Canada
    2. USA
    3. Sweden
    4. Finland

    2008 World Championship
    1. USA
    2. Canada
    3. Finland
    4. Switzerland

    2009 World Championship
    1. USA
    2. Canada
    3. Finland
    4. Sweden

    2010 Olympics
    1. Canada
    2. USA
    3. Finland
    4. Sweden

    2011 World Championship
    1. USA
    2. Canada
    3. Finland
    4. Russia

    2012 World Championship
    1. Canada
    2. USA
    3. Switzerland
    4. Finland

    2013 World Championship
    1. USA
    2. Canada
    3. Russia
    4. Finland

    2014 Olympics
    1. Canada
    2. USA
    3. Switzerland
    4. Sweden

    OVERALL IN 20 WOMEN’S BEST ON BEST TOURNAMENTS: 
(Giving 4 points for 1st, 3 points for second, 2 points for 3rd, 1 point for 4th).

    1. Canada (14 x 1st, 6 x 2nd): 74 points
    2. USA (6 x 1st, 13 x 2nd, 1 x 3rd): 65 points
    3. Finland (12 x 3rd, 7 x 4th): 31 points
    4. Sweden (1 x 2nd, 3 x 3rd, 8 x 4th): 17 points
    5. Russia (2 x 3rd, 1 x 4th): 5 points
    5. Switzerland (2 x 3rd, 1 x 4th): 5 points
    7. China (3 x 4th): 3 points

    I hope no one disagrees that Canada is to hockey what Brazil is to soccer/football.

    Posted by SethBlog @ 8:24 AM

  • 4 Responses

    WP_Modern_Notepad
    • Natalie Says:

      Wrong. I think that as a dual citizen, Brett Hull had the right to choose whichever team he wanted. I completely understand why, after being turned down by the Canadian team for the World Championship because of his inferior skills (which was of course perfectly justifiable on Canada’s part – they did what was best for the team), he joined the American team so that he would have the opportunity to compete in this important tournament (he also needed to do what was best for him and his career). I agree with you, however, that his decision to then stay on with the American team based solely on the fact that Canada had once rejected him was petty. He made Canada’s professional (and completely reasonable) decision personal, exposing his own unprofessional attitude and inflated ego for all to see. But it was his reason for staying on the American team that was flawed, not the act itself. It seems like you are being a little unreasonable by insisting that a superstar with dual citizenship play only for your team:p

    • SethBlog Says:

      Wrong back atcha, Natalie! 🙂

      Yes, I agree that Hull had a right to play for whichever team he wanted (legally), and if this had been Olympic figure skating where athletes only got a tiny chance at glory, I would be more sympathetic of his defection to a country that had little to do with his formation as a hockey player, but in this case, this was one of hundreds of opportunities he had to gain the attention he needed to start his career. Nevertheless, perhaps at the time, he had thought that this was his best chance (although I doubt it: knowing Mr. Hull as I do, I suspect he was merely relishing the chance to compete against the country that “snubbed” his greatness). My objection here, then, is more about two issues: (1) American hockey’s tendency to help themselves to Canadian players for its program who aren’t yet good enough to make Canada: if we’re going to have world championships etc to see who creates the best hockey players, then I think the intention is defeated if we say that players can choose to play for the country that didn’t form them if it’s good for their careers (he’s hurting the career of the American-raised American whom he replaced), and (2) as you acknowledge, Brett Hull’s irrational claim that he stayed with USA out of loyalty to them for believing in him. Of course they believed in him: at the time, their roster wasn’t nearly as good as Canada’s, so they didn’t ask him to join their side because of a kindhearted concern for his welfare, but instead because they thought he would help them win.

      (I always think it’s arrogant when athletes praise teams for believing in them – at the expense of other athletes. For every athlete a team believes in, they have to cut thousands of others: so it’s just a matter of them picking the players they estimate will do the best job – nothing more generous than that.)

    • Tom Durrie Says:

      When I have time, perhaps in another life, I shall list the multiple achievements of our artists, musicians, and scientists. They are often better known and respected around the world by any number of hockey players or games won.

    • SethBlog Says:

      Well put, TomD. Officially (per our discussion regarding another post) I agree with you that our society might be better off with a little more live science experiment coverage in place of pre-season hockey broadcasts. But, in practice, I have grown up cheering for hockey Canada and so their games are as influential on my psyche as opera may be on yours.

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