By Gabriel Cruz
According to a Harris Poll online, a survey was taken of what was the greatest moment in Winter Olympic history. The event with the most percentage was the story of the 1980 United States Hockey team, which is known to many as “The Miracle on Ice”.
“The Miracle” consisted of a bunch of college hockey players with the average age of 21. Only thirteen days before grabbing the Olympic gold medal, the U.S. team had been defeated by the Soviets, 10-3.
The United States were seeded 7th in a 12-team tournament and they were able to defeat a far more superior Soviet Union team to win the Gold Medal. Herb Brooks was the Men’s U.S. Ice hockey coach 22 years ago, and will once again be the coach of the 2002 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey team.
The United States Ice Hockey team won’t have it easy though. The men’s tournament will also include teams from 13 other countries. The countries whose men’s teams qualified for the 2002 Winter Olympics are Austria, Belarus, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Ukraine.
Fifty-five different games will be played in three rounds; preliminary, final and the playoff rounds. The men’s preliminary rounds start on February 9th and the games will be played through Feb. 24.
During the Olympics, all NHL games will be put on hold. Professional players will be able to represent their countries, so teammates in the NHL may be opponents during the Winter Games.
Ice hockey teams don’t only consist of men though! For the second time in Olympic History, women will compete in Ice Hockey as well. Eight teams from around the globe will have some of their country’s toughest women on ice skates in the hockey rink as well.
Of course, the United States won the Gold medal in 1998 in Japan, with Canadian women getting a Silver, and Finland a bronze. Those countries’ teams will return to the Winter Games again, along with China, Germany, Kazakhstan, Russia and Sweden!
The United States women’s team this year will include 4 players who are under the age of 20! The women’s preliminary round starts on the 11th and the Gold Medal game is scheduled to be on February 21st.
Hopefully the United States’ dream of winning the Gold Medal will come true in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake.