|Dates||10 – 25 February 2018|
All the news in the years since the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics was about the National Hockey League (NHL) and whether the NHL players would be allowed to compete at PyeongChang 2018. Since the NHL had started appearing in the Olympics, this discussion tended to occur between each Winter Games. This time it was more intense and, finally, the NHL decided not release the players and schedule a pause to their season to allow the players to participate at PyeongChang. The announced reasoning was that the NHL was not receiving assurances on health insurance coverage for the players from the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and the IOC.
Without the NHL, most of the world’s best players were not available, as not just Canadians and Americans populated that league but, by 2018, many of the best European players were also playing in the NHL. The decision by the NHL was expected to greatly affect the quality of play at PyeongChang.
Unaffected by the NHL, the women’s tournament was expected to come down, as it always had, to Canada and the United States. They had won all the gold medals awarded going back to 1998, with the USA winning in 1998 but Canada winning the next four. In 2015-17 the United States seemed to have the upper hand in the rivalry, winning all three World Championships, but in some pre-Olympic matches, Canada seemed to take command just prior to the Winter Olympics. In the end they would meet in the final in 2018 with the United States winning in an overtime shoot-out.
Shortly before the Winter Olympics, the women’s ice hockey became a focus of international politics when it was announced that DPR Korea (North) would be allowed to send Olympic athletes to PyeongChang, although none had actually qualified. Further, in ice hockey it was agreed to allow a mixed Korean team of North and South Koreans to compete together. This yielded a 35-women team for Mixed Korea, although only 22 dressed for any individual game. There was some grumbling from the original South Korean women’s team, worried about losing their spot in the Games. In the end, the mixed team did play, and although it lost every game, it was a historic moment in Winter Olympic history and for the Korean Peninsula.
The ice hockey tournament was held at two arenas in Gangneung, at the Coastal Cluster of venues. The men played primarily at Gangneung Hockey Centre, while the women played primarily at the Kwandong Hockey Centre, although their finals rounds were at Gangneung.
|Ice Hockey, Men||Olympic||14 – 25 February 2018||282||12|
|Ice Hockey, Women||Olympic||10 – 22 February 2018||182||8|
|464 (282/182)||14 (12/8)|
|Ice Hockey, Men||Olympic Athletes from Russia||ROC||Germany||GER||Canada||CAN|
|Ice Hockey, Women||United States||USA||Canada||CAN||Finland||FIN|