The Olympics have come and gone with Team Canada bringing home the gold medal in ice hockey, successfully defending their Olympic title. But despite dominating international hockey, the men’s team is not positioned at the top of the IIHF rankings. Instead, Canada is third behind Sweden and Finland. Why?
It’s a ranking that baffles many – including the record-breaking 15 million Canadian viewers who tuned into the Sochi 2014 final at very unpleasant hours. Combined, Canadians watched in excess of 14 million hours of the Winter Games to see Team Canada come third overall which included both the men’s and women’s gold in hockey. So why is Canada only on top of the women’s standing when we clearly dominate both arenas?
Canada went undefeated in winning gold, scoring 17 goals and giving up only three in six games. Canada has also won nine of the 13 best versus best tournaments since 1972.
Looking at the games closely, Canada had 100 more scoring opportunities than all of its Sochi opponents: 153 to 53. Its three closest opponents – Finland, Sweden and the USA had just 26 opportunities compared to Canada’s 64. Team Canada also outscored the number 1 and number 2 ranked countries 5 to 1 and out-chanced them 42 to 12.
A betting man would be confident in placing Canada at the top of the log. But according to the IIHF, a betting man should save his time and money for JackpotJoy Casino instead. The hockey rankings make very little sense.
According to the IIHF, the world ranking system is a “tool to reflect the long-term quality of the countries’ national team programme taking into consideration the results over four years.”
The reasoning could be behind the poor timing of the IIHF World Championships when Canada’s best is invariably involved playing in Stanley Cup playoffs. Just four players from the gold medal winning team were present in last year’s World Championship, where the team lost 3-2 to Sweden in the quarter finals.
This would seem to be a major flaw. More weight should be levied towards the best versus best games in the Olympics and the World Cup rather than the World Championships. Such an act would see more consistency in those at the top of the leader board and those winning gold. The rankings otherwise, as Sochi 2014 showed us, need not be taken too seriously.