Men's ice hockey has been a staple of the winter Olympics since 1924. In the early days, the sport was largely dominated by Canada who won six of seven gold medals in the first three decades. During this time, Czechoslovakia, Sweden and the US were also major medal contenders.
In 1956, the Soviet Union entered a team and quickly took over Canada's role as the lead force in Olympic hockey, winning seven of nine tournaments they competed in. In 1980 the US team upset the heavily favored Soviets and moved on to capture the gold medal. This game is known as the Miracle on Iceand is one of the most memorable Olympic moments. The International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) voted the Miracle on Iceas the best international hockey story in the last 100 years.
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Women's ice hockey was added to the winter Olympics in 1998. Canada and the US have dominated this event since its inclusion. The US took the gold medal in 1998 and Canada took it in 2002 and 2006. Finland and Sweden have also developed competitive women's teams and both countries have taken silver and bronze medals in the event.
Prior to 1998, professional players were not allowed to compete in the winter Olympics. After some deliberation, Olympic officials decided to open the competition to all players professional and amateur. The NHL, on the other hand, was hesitant to allow players to compete because it meant their regular season would come to a halt as players left to compete at the international level. In the end, all parties came to an agreement and NHL players are now allowed to play for their country of citizenship during the winter Olympics.
Originally the tournament was held as a round-robin series of games and ended with a medal round. Teams were awarded medals based on the amount of points they had accumulated during the round. This changed in 1988 when the tournament took on a format similar to the NHL playoffs. 12 men's teams break up into divisions and play a preliminary and qualifying round. The top eight teams will advance to the playoff round in which the winning team will receive the gold medal. Women's Olympic hockey is played in the same way, but since the women start with eight teams they skip the qualifying round and go straight to the playoffs.
The Olympics are a big deal for bettors and online sportsbooks. They offer several events for people to bet on and ice hockey is one of the most popular. But before you throw down your money there are a couple of things to keep in mind when betting on Olympic ice hockey. Mainly, the rules of the game are different from NHL games. Olympic ice hockey uses the IIHF rules, which means that
If you would like to know more about sports betting, check out our explanation of sports betting odds. Or, if you'd like to know more about betting on ice hockey, have a look at our NHL/Stanley Cup or ice hockey pages. Once you've done your research, check out one of our recommended sportsbooks to put down a friendly wager on the games.
Absolutely. Ice hockey is amongst the most popular games at the Olympics for gamblers.
All the best sports betting sites will offer you different bets on the hockey just before the competition begins and once the Olympic Games are in progress.
Our list of the most recommended Olympic hockey betting sites is the ideal place for you to find a suitable place to play at.
All the matches from the very first games to the much-anticipated final can be bet on.
Usually Canada is given the highest odds of winning because they are the team who have won the most gold medals in ice hockey in the past.
Outsiders like Slovenia are given low odds of winning but the amount you'll win if they take home the gold medal is much higher than if you bet on Canada.
The odds associated with a game will show you the probability of whether a team will win or lose the match. If you see Canada -160, Ukraine +300 then it means that Canada are the favourites to win.
For every $100 you wager on Canada, you'll get $160 back if they beat Ukraine. However if you bet $100 on Ukraine and they win, you'll land $300.
There are no differences to the types of bet you can place on Olympic hockey but there are some small differences to the rules and these could affect a team's performance.
There are tougher rules on penalties in Olympic hockey, for example if a player starts a fight with another player they will be sent off straight away. In the NHL this only counts as a minor issue.
The amount of cash you can potentially win varies because if an underdog team makes it the final, their odds will be much lower but if they do pull it out of the bag and win, your payout will be a lot higher than if you'd just bet on the favourite team.
Knowledge is power when it comes to any kind of sports betting, so make sure you study the past winners of the Olympic hockey gold medal.
You should look out for their technique, the temperament of the players, how well the team collaborate and how many goals they concede.