Hockey is Canada’s sport – so it should be no surprise this team is the heavy favourite going into the tournament. They’re the tallest team in the competition and second heaviest so that provides advantages for bigger hits and scuffles at the crease. The team’s average age is 28.7 years therefore there’s plenty of experienced players here, many of whom have played alongside each other in previous internationals at Worlds and the Olympics. Most of these players were the core ones from Sochi Olympics therefore team cohesion is likely to be strong, and in addition there are many pairs coming from the same team – Toews & Crawford, Thornton & Burns, Marchand & Bergeron. They share 16 Stanley Cups between them; Jonathan Toews has won three of those as captain of the Blackhawks, and was the youngest member to enter the Triple Gold Club at 22. They’ve lost Duncan Keith and Jamie Benn to injuries – the league’s top 5 D-man and forward – which is a real shame as Benn and Seguin display unbelievable partnership on the ice that could have been an asset for Canada. However, Canada can still boast Norris award winners, Conn Smythe, Rocket Richard, two Vezina winners in Holtby and Price, and the Art Ross. They have a collective 20 Olympic gold medals.
Oh yeah, and team Canada has this guy as their captain – Sidney Crosby. The Pittsburgh Penguins won the ‘Sidney Crosby Sweepstake’ and he was the draft’s first overall pick then he became the team’s captain aged 19. This past season, he lifted the Stanley Cup for the second time in his career (and he’s still only 29). Even in his worst seasons, he’s still in the top ten. He boasts the Order of Nova Scotia, two Lou Marsh trophies, three Lionel Conacher awards, various sportsman of the year awards, two Art Ross trophies, three Ted Lindsay awards, he’s twice won the Hart Memorial and the Mark Messier Leadership awards, also twice won the Maurice Rocket Richard award for top scorer, two Conn Smythes, he’s been voted MVP six times by his peers, and has two Olympic gold medals under his belt. During the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Crosby also scored the golden goal in overtime to win gold over USA – not bad at all.