Women's Hockey to Remain Part of Winter Olympics
The sport dominated by the U.S. and Canada since it first debuted as a sanctioned event in 1998 will be included in the 2014 Sochi Games, International Olympic Committee Executive Director Gilbert Felli told reporters on a conference call on Monday.
"The program commission had a review, but there were no questions [regarding] the sports that were in Vancouver," Felli said from Acapulco where the IOC held an executive board meeting. "Hockey will be there."
Women's hockey was put on notice during the Vancouver Games earlier this year when IOC President Jacques Rogge questioned the sport's appeal outside North America. Canada won the gold in Vancouver and only once has the final not featured both the U.S. and Canada.
Officials from Canada and the U.S. have been meeting with the other two countries to medal in the sport -- Finland and Sweden -- to discuss what efforts need to be made to advance hockey in other countries, USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer said.
The Vancouver Games also had had several lopsided scores, including an 18-0 victory by Canada over Slovakia.
"There is a discrepancy," he told reporters."Everyone agrees with that. This may be the investment period for women's ice hockey. I would personally give them more time to grow but there must be a period of improvement. . . . We cannot continue without improvement."
Officials from the U.S. and Canada have met with their counterparts from Finland and Sweden -- the only other two countries to medal in women's Olympic hockey -- to discuss what needs to be done to improve women's hockey worldwide, USA Hockey spokesman Dave Fischer said.
"We are pleased to have confirmed women's hockey inclusion at the Sochi Olympics and look forward to a competition level that will continue to get better across all countries," Fischer said. "We're fully committed to helping women's hockey around the world."
Felli said all the sports that were part of the 2010 Winter Games will be back for 2014 and the IOC is looking to add a handful of events, including women's ski jumping. Other events that could be added include ski halfpipe, ski slopestyle, snowboard slopestyle, mixed biathlon team relay, a figure skating team event and luge team relay.
A final decision on those sports inclusion will likely be made by this spring, Felli said.