If you don’t follow women’s hockey, you may want to start Feb. 12, when USA meets rival Canada in a preliminary round that is expected to be the matchup we’ll see again in the Feb. 20 gold medal game. The first head-to-head airs live on NBCSN at 7:30 a.m. ET. It will also live-stream on NBCOlympics.com.
“Canada — all you have to say is a mini-brawl,” four-time U.S. Olympian Julie Chu told EW last October, a couple weeks after the teams got into a fight on the ice. Watch it below. (It happened again in December, which we’ve also embedded.) “I think a lot of people were like, ‘I can’t believe you guys got in a fight in women’s hockey,’ and the reality is, it’s because both teams are so strong, so passionate. We compete hard, and we’re here to win a game, and sometimes tempers flare,” Chu said. “But at the end of the day, everyone’s protecting their teammates, and I think no-harm/no-foul is done there.”
Women’s hockey has been an Olympic event since 1998, when the U.S. won the first gold. Since then, that medal has belonged to Canada, with the U.S. earning silver in 2002 and 2010 and bronze in 2006. Chu also expects Finland to be strong, as well as Russia. “Obviously being the host country with a rich hockey culture, they’re really putting a strong push on supporting their women’s program,” she said.