The U.S. and Canada’s women’s hockey teams are going to get very familiar with each other ahead of the Sochi Olympics.
The only two nations to win Olympic gold will play at least six times beginning Oct. 12, Hockey Canada announced Thursday.
Here’s the schedule:
Oct. 12, 7 p.m. ET at Burlington, Vt.
Oct. 17, TBD at Boisbriand, Quebec
Third game TBD in Canada
Dec. 20, 8 p.m. ET at Grand Forks, N.D.
Dec. 28, 4 p.m. ET at St. Paul, Minn.
Sixth game TBD in Canada
“The rivalry between Canada’s national women’s team and the U.S. women’s national team is one of the most exciting and intense in hockey,” Hockey Canada chief operating officer Scott Smith said in a press release. “We look forward to traveling south of the border to take on our talented American competitors, and welcoming both the U.S. team and our fans to the province of Quebec for some of the best women’s hockey in the world.”
Canada is coming off a trip to Sochi, where it beat Russia 6-1 on Sunday at 9-1 on Monday. Russia won bronze at the World Championships in April. Those results reinforced how far the U.S. and Canada are past the rest of the world.
Every Olympic and World Championships gold and silver medal has been won by the U.S. and Canada except for the 2006 Olympic silver won by Sweden. Canada beat the U.S. for gold at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, but the U.S. won 3-2 in the gold-medal game at worlds five months ago.
The U.S. and Canada are in the same group for the Sochi Olympics and will play Feb. 12 before a likely gold-medal game rematch eight days later. This is the first time they’ve been grouped together since the first Olympic women’s hockey tournament in 1998, when all the teams were in one group.
By being in the same group, the U.S. and Canada are assured to be in opposite semifinals, should they be the top two in group play.
The U.S. and Canada also played a six-game series leading into the 2010 Olympics. That’s nothing compared to 15 years ago, when the nations played a physical 13-game exhibition series, won 7-6 by Canada.