International Ice Hockey Federation

Women celebrate 25 years

Women celebrate 25 years presents top-25 stories of all time

Published 11.03.2015 12:43 GMT+1 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Women celebrate 25 years
Canada’s Charline Labonte and USA's Molly Schaus shake hands after one of the battles for gold between the two nations. Photo: Dave Sandford / HHOF-IIHF Images
The 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Malmo, Sweden will open on 28th March and will mark the first major event since the Sochi Olympics.

But more than that, it marks the 25th anniversary of the year women’s hockey joined the IIHF family as an official international tournament.

To recognize the first quarter century of women’s hockey at the IIHF, writer and hockey historian Andrew Podnieks is producing his list of the top 25 stories in the history of the women’s game.

Some entries will be obvious, some perhaps a bit more obscure, and the ranking of the stories is sure to pique the interest of women’s hockey fans all over the world (not to mention raise the odd eyebrow or produce a provocative comment or two).

Some stories will be about an event; others about a player or team or game or moment in international women’s hockey. If it was important to the game’s history and development, it will find its way onto the list.

The first story will run today, #25, and one story each day will appear on counting down until #1 is unveiled the morning of the medal games in Malmo, on 4th April 2015.

That first Women’s Worlds event in 1990, in Ottawa, Canada, was a remarkable success. Fans embraced the teams and the games, and the all-North American final was broadcast live on TSN. International women’s hockey was born.

In the first years, the WW was a bi-annual event, but after the women’s version of the game became a full-medal sport at the Olympics in 1998 in Nagano, it became an annual event played in every year except Olympic years.

The first four Women’s Worlds were held in 1990, 1992, 1994, and 1997 and were dominated by Canada, but it was the Americans who claimed that first Olympics gold in Nagano 1998.

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Indeed, the Canada-United States rivalry has dominated the women’s game, each nation pushing the other to improve, and both North Americans, in turn, forcing the rest of the world to improve or be left behind.

Finland was equally dominant as bronze winners in the 1990s, but Sweden made a dramatic entrance in 2002 by winning Olympic bronze thanks to teen goalie Kim Martin.

Russia and Switzerland joined the medal ranking too and also countries like China, the Czech Republic, Germany and Japan have all made tremendous strides in homegrown development, and the players today are bigger, faster, and stronger than they have ever been.

Twenty-five years on, the 1990 event looks slow by comparison, thanks to the dedication of players, coaches, and volunteers around the world focused on improving the game and developing skills.

So sit back and relax, and check into every day for the next 25 days as we count down the top 25 stories in the 25 years of international women’s hockey while following exciting hockey at the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Malmo!


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