Monday, February 24, 2014

Former College Players Help Canada to Gold Again

For the second straight Winter Olympics, Canada won the men's hockey gold medal, this time with a 3-0 victory over Sweden on Sunday at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi, Russia.

The NCAA helped a little bit again, as five skaters on this year's Canadian squad once plied their amateur trade at an American university. They included Jonathan Toews (North Dakota), Chris Kunitz (Ferris State), Patrick Sharp (Vermont), Martin St. Louis (Vermont) and Duncan Keith (Michigan State). Toews and Kunitz sandwiched goals around one by Sindey Crosby in yesterday's gold medal championship win, the first goals of the 2014 tournament by each member of that trio.

Toews, Sharp and Keith all won the Stanley Cup both last year and in 2010 with the Chicago Blackhawks. St. Louis claimed hockey's biggest prize 10 years ago with the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Kunitz was a 2009 Cup champion with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Toews and Keith were also on Canada's 2010 gold-medal winning club in Vancouver, when Canada beat the United States, 3-2, for gold that year on Crosby's overtime goal.

Carl Hagelin (Michigan) of the New York Rangers was on the Swedish squad that earned silver this year. It was Sweden's first Olympic men's hockey medal since 2006, when the Swedes took gold in Torino, Italy. Phil Kessel (Minnesota) of the United States was named the top forward in the Sochi tournament, with eight points in five games, although the Americans finished fourth and out of medal contention with Saturday's 5-0 loss to Finland.

The NHL now resumes its 2013-14 season tomorrow night following a two-week Olympic break, perhaps the last time that league players will do so. The 2018 Winter Olympic Games will take place in South Korea.

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