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Women's Hockey in the Olympics

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The first Olympic winter games were held in France, in 1924; women's hockey only made its first appearance to the event in 1998. It took 74 years for the Olympic committee to realize that women can play hockey just as well as men. But now, female players are facing the risk of losing the opportunity to compete in the Olympics if other countries that play the women's game don't start making up some ground on Canada and USA. Lop-sided scores may be threatening the future of the sport. But the International Olympic Committee needs to understand how big of an effect withdrawing the sport would have on the female athletes. Women's hockey should not be removed from the Olympics because there's no NHL for women, so the Olympics are all we have. Also the men's games are just as lop-sided as the women's games, and the competition is getting better and better every year.

Since there's no NHL for women, the Olympics are all female players have. It's the highest possible level for them. Young girls with a love for the game of hockey work hard their whole lives dreaming of the Olympics. Players attend numerous high level hockey camps preparing themselves and getting recognized at a competitive level. It's a long road to the Olympics, but one that's certainly worth taking. Haley Wickenheiser, Captain of Team Canada was quoted as saying, "When you play hockey in Canada there's only one medal to win. You feel that as a player, from a very young age." The experience is unforgettable, even though it doesn't quite compare to the National Hockey League. Unlike men, women don't get the chance to play the sport they love as a career. There is no league in women's hockey that they can get paid to play on. In fact, being on the Olympic team ends up costing them money. Even the best players in the world, such as Team USA's Jenny Potter, have to work at Home Depot just to keep the Olympic dream alive. Women play for the love of the game, not for the money. Take away the Olympics, and it takes away the biggest reason to suit up in the first place.

The funny thing is that there isn't much difference between the men's division and the women's division. It's no secret that Canada and U.S.A. hold an edge over other countries when it comes to hockey. Whether it's men or women, North Americans simply put more resources into their programs. The all-time medal count for Olympic hockey, including men's and women's, has Canada on top with 18, and the U.S.A. in second with 15. Of Canada's 18 medals, 11 of them are gold. North Americans have captured the gold medal 54% of the time. So if they're going to complain about the quality of the competition in the women's division, they have to take a closer look at the men's division too. Although it's clear that Canada's women's team dominates every



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