There's a Difference
VANCOUVER—So Canada-US or Canada-Russia. Which is bigger?
An interesting debate. On the surface, Canada and Russia have been going at it longer, and the '72 Summit Series remains an indelible symbol of our national hockey pride.
But here's why the rivalry with the Americans may be greater.
First, it's growing, and has been growing since the early 1990s.
Second, it exists on more levels.
Canada and U.S. men compete at the NHL level, and obviously, the Olympic level.
Canadian junior teams and American college battle for the affections of the same players.
Our national junior teams are rivals, with the U.S. beating Canada in Saskatoon last month.
Our women's national teams are rivals. In fact, neither has any other.
Our paralympic sledge hockey squads are bitter foes.
And our children of all ages, if they play the game at a competitive level, are well-versed in playing against American competition. On Friday, my daughter and her varsity team from Appleby College in Oakville – coached by national under-22 coach Margot Page, by the way – travelled to Buffalo to play Nichols School in the final game of the best-of-three CISSA championship series.
Delaney, my daughter, figured the previous night's result, with Canada's women beating the U.S. in the Olympic gold medal final, was a good omen. She was right.
Appleby 3, Nichols 2, in overtime.
So our kids know the rivalry with the U.S., as do our paralympians, as do our elite women, as do our juniors, as do our very best players.
Only a few of that number would have played against Russian teams, and only occasionally.
That's the difference.