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At the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, there were six women's teams entered in competition and one female head coach--Shannon Miller of Canada. Miller, like so many other senior coaches, began her hockey life as a player, with the University of Saskatchewan, winning three Canadian championships in the mid-'80s. In 1989, she coached a girl's minor team in Calgary and then coached Alberta to victory at the first Canada Winter Games in 1991. She served as an assistant on Canada's gold medal teams at the World Championships in 1992 and 1994. In 1995 the CHA appointed Miller head coach for the Canadian entry at the Pacific Rim championships-which Canada won over the US in a shootout-and again the following year for the Pacific Women's Hockey Championships. In May 1997, she was offered a contract to coach the women's team through to the 1998 Nagano Games. She received a further leave of absence from her full-time employer, the Calgary police force, and made history as the first female coach at the Olympics. For everyone involved in hockey, it was a landmark appointment.

Canadian Dominance

Between 1920 and 1952, Canada lost only one hockey game at the Olympics. The country was not just dominant, it was overpowering, beating Switzerland 33-0 and Czechoslovakia 30-0 in 1924, the highest shutout victories in Olympic history. Because Canada's representatives were amateur champions of the Dominion, there was never any player who participated in more than one Olympics. Each entry had a different series of stars. In 1920, it was the scoring of Frank Fredrickson and Slim Halderson and the goaltending of Wally Byron that made the Canadians so famous in Antwerp. Four years later, it was the phenomenal performance of Harry Watson, who scored 13 goals in a single game against the Swiss and 36 goals overall in just five tournament games. Watson was certainly the greatest Canadian amateur never to turn pro. Along with Fredrickson and teammate Hooley Smith, Watson is in a small group who both played at the Olympics for Canada and is an Honoured Member in the player category of the Hockey Hall of Fame. The 1928 team was famous for a number of reasons. Firstly, the Canadian squad was considered so superior to everyone else that it was given a bye to the gold medal round. Secondly, In the three games the team played, it scored 38 times and did not allow a single goal, the only time this has ever happened in Olympic history.

Mr. Zero

In 1952, Canadian goalie Ralph Hansch of the Edmonton Mercurys became the first and last goalie to wear "0" as his jersey number in the Olympics (though H. Heirman wore 0 for Belgium at the 1949 World Championships). He wore it his entire playing career, and saw no reason to change now, despite the protestations of the IOC which felt this was not a 'real' number. After the Games, the IOC put in a rule prohibiting the wearing of 0 as a number, thus ensuring Hansch's place in Olympic lore.

Did You Know?
Medal Bonanza

Soviet star netminder holds the record for most Olympic medals with four. (gold in 1972, '76, '84 and silver in 1980)

Limit: One Per Person

No player has ever one two Olympic scoring titles.

Blowing The Whistle

Because only four countries were entered in the 1932 Olympic hockey tournament at Lake Placid, the organizing committee thought nothing of engaging only two referees. Lou Marsh of Canada and Donald Sands of the United States refereed all 12 matches involving Canada, the United States, Germany and Poland. In a first-round game between Germany and the U.S., even the pro-American crowd decided that Sands was prejudiced against the Germans. He was forced to leave the ice to allow Marsh to finish the game, which the Americans won easily 7-0.

Chants and Cheers

The chants of the partisan crowd have been a major factor behind many notable international hockey victories. 'Go Canada Go' is the most famous in North America. Many great Soviet teams have marched to victory to the chants of 'Shaibu', which translated literally into English means 'To the puck', or 'Go get that puck'. The Czechoslovakian fans were often the loudest. They seemed to be able to drown out all opponents with 'Do To Ho', which roughly means 'Go, Go, Go'. The ice halls of Europe were filled with this chant during the 1960s and 1970s. It died off a bit in the 1980s when the Czechoslovak team was not so strong, but was very noticeable again in the Big Hat Arena in Nagano, Japan when the Czech Republic won the 1998 Olympic gold medal. This time the chanters were fellow athletes from the Czech Olympic team.

Gentleman Father Bauer

Canada had long been regarded internationally as exceedingly rough in its style of play. Body-checking was not considered part of the game in Europe and was not even permitted in the Olympics in the offensive zone until 1968! But when Father Bauer began his national program to prepare for the 1960 Olympic Winter Games, the Canadian mandate altered. Father Bauer believed that education and sport should go hand in hand. He knew well of the manly art of body-checking but also the class of fair play and gentlemanly conduct. Nowhere in the annals of the Olympics was this more overt than 1964 during the Sweden-Canada game. One Swedish forward, Carl Oberg, angrily threw his broken stick into the Canadian bench while play continued as he hustled to his own bench to get a new one. The stick clipped Father Bauer on the forehead and a few stitches were needed to close the wound. The Canadian bench was furious, and Father Bauer did all he could to ensure his players didn't enter into a brawl. The IOC recognised the importance of the incident by suspending Oberg for one game, as well as the Swiss referee who didn't call a penalty on the play, and presented Bauer with a special gold medal for "the control he exercised over his players" during the game. Father Bauer acknowledged the incident as accidental by taking Oberg to a game the next night, a gesture earning international acclaim for its kindness and sporting understanding.

Heads Or Tails

This coin was flipped to determine the shooting order for the shootout between Canada and the Czech Republic in the semi-final game at Nagano. The Czechs scored on their first shot, the only goal of the shootout, and went on to defeat the Russians two days later to capture the gold.

Soviet Monopoly

After placing third in 1960 in Squaw Valley, the Soviets went on to win gold at the next four Olympics, their win streak snapped only by the United States in 1980. During their run of domination, the team had an incredible 22-1-1 record, losing only to their arch-rivals Czechoslovakia 5-4 in 1968 and tying Sweden 3-3 in 1972. They ouscored their opponents 175-44, though it is worth noting Canada never competed in the '72 or '76 Olympic Winter Games. In the 60s, the team was led by the great Anatoly Firsov, goalie Viktor Konovalenko and forwwards Boris Mayorov and Aleksandr Ragulin. Konovalenko had two shutouts in 1964 and three more in '68, before giving way in 1972 to Vladislav Tretiak, the world's most dominant international goalie in the 70s.

The Soviet teams in the 70s were virtually identical to the teams that played in the Summit Series in 1972 and the first Canada Cup in 1976, among the best teams the USSR ever produced. Forwards in 1972 included Valeri Kharlamov, Boris Mikhailov, Alexander Maltsev, and Alexander Yakushev, while the defence was built around Alexander Ragulin and Valeri Vasiliev. In 1976, Sergei Kapustin, Victor Zhluktov, and the old guard of Mikhailov, Maltsev, and Petrov were the dominant players. It was only after the loss in 1980 that a new generation of Soviet player emerged for the '84 Games to reclaim gold in Sarajevo.


Victor Lindquist was an essential player on the 1932 Winnipegs team that represented Canada at Lake Placid. The right winger scored a dramatic goal at 2:14 of the second overtime period to give the Canadians a 2-1 win over the US in the first game of the '32 Olympics en route to a gold medal. Although he was born in Wabigoon, Ontario and raised in Winnipeg, he was of Swedish descent and was asked by the Swedes to coach their 1936 entry in Garmisch. The team placed a respectable fifth, beating Japan 2-0, Austria 1-0, and losing 1-0 to Great Britain, 4-1 to the Czechs, and 2-1 to the United States.

Five Shutouts And The Sin Bin For Dowey

No one could have been less prepared for the 1948 Olympics than Canadian goalie Murray Dowey. The team already had Dick Ball ready to play goal but he failed his pre-sailing medical. A last-minute replacement had to be found, and Ball suggested Dowey who had been playing in the Toronto Mercantile League. Dowey received permission from the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) to take the necessary time off, and just made the train to take him to New York to meet the team aboard the Queen Elizabeth. Dowey then went on to set a number of records for goaltending at the Olympics. He recorded five shutouts in eight games and allowed only five goals the whole tournament. He had shutout streaks of 225:25 minutes and ended the Olympics not allowing a goal in his final 195:30 of play. His winning streak of five games and unbeaten streak of eight are still Canadian records as are his three consecutive shutouts. After the Olympics, he returned to work for the TTC and never played international, NHL, or any serious level of hockey again.

Dowey is the only goalie to get a penalty and have to serve it himself. Late in Canada's opening game against Sweden on January 30, 1948, he caught the puck and threw it forward accidentally. This was illegal for goalies and left the referee little choice but to assess a penalty. Dowey dutifully skated to the penalty box at 19:52 of the third period, and defenceman Andre Lapaerriere played in goal for the final eight seconds of a 3-1 win.

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