- What: The 2022 Winter Olympics, officially the XXIV Olympic Winter Games
- Who: The top three countries vying for the men’s hockey gold medal at the 2022 Winter Olympics
- Where: Beijing, China
- When: February 4, 2022, to February 20, 2022
Since the 2018 Winter Games, the ice hockey world has been buzzing on who will become the next Olympics champion. In 2018, the Russian national team (technically, the Olympic Athletes from Russia team (OAR)) was able to take home the gold medal with a 5-1 record overall in the tournament and won a thrilling 4-3 overtime match with Germany to clinch the gold. With the world waiting to see if Russia can repeat in 2022, we take a closer look at who the top contenders are going into Beijing.
|Odds to Win Men's ice hockey gold medal|
The Favorite: Canada (+150)
One of the most dominant organizations in and discipline, Team Canada is angling for its 10th overall gold medal in 2022. Recognized as one of the so-called “Big Six” in men’s ice hockey, Canada opens as the presumptive favorite to win it all and for good reason. Arguably the best men’s national team in ice hockey (they have 27 IIHF World Championships), the Canadians have a strong talent pool to choose from when it comes to the Olympic Games. Though they are coming off of a disappointing bronze medal finish at Pyeongchang, Canada is looking to lock down its first gold medal since 2014 in Sochi. Forwards Adam Henrique and Connor Brown are two to watch in February.
Number Two: Russia (ROC) (+350)
Another member of the “Big Six,” in fact all of the teams on this list are members, Russia is looking to win its first back-to-back gold medals since they were the Soviet Union. Though the Russian Olympic Committee was disqualified by the International Olympic Committee in 2018 for doping, Russian players were cleared to participate by the IOC as the OAR. With a team primarily made up of players from the KHL, the Russians cruised through their competition on the way to a gold medal. Even though they were able to lock up the Olympic title in 2018, the Russians were recently knocked off by Canada at the 2021 IHF World Championship.
Number three: Sweden (+650)
Coming off of their worst finish at the IHF World Championship, Sweden is looking to turn things around at the upcoming Winter Games. Though the Swedish were unable to make the playoffs at the IHF Championship, tying the 1937 team for their worst placement in tournament history, they are still a dominant organization in men’s ice hockey. The last time Sweden was able to win the gold medal at the Olympics was at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin. They have some ground to make up though if they want to improve on their fifth place finish in 2018 and better their 4-3 record.
Dark Horse contender: USA (+650)
Our last contender on this list, Team USA can never be counted out when it comes to the Olympics. Okay maybe in men’s soccer they can, but not ice hockey. America’s last gold medal came at the 1980 Winter Games in the famous “Miracle on Ice” when they were able to knock off the Soviet Union. Since then, the Americans have locked down two silver medals and six bronze medals at the world championships. What’s interesting, is unlike other nations, the U.S. typically does not use its best NHL players in many international competitions, opting to have younger players gain experience this way.
Prediction: Though it is tempting to select the Russians to repeat, look for Team Canada to take home the title. The Canadians are just too stacked with young and hungry talent to not make a full-fledged run at the gold.
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