Ice Hockey at the 2018 Winter Olympics

Tensions ran high at this year's Winter Olympics as some of the world's most esteemed ice hockey players took to the rinks. It was a year of many firsts, with the USA women's team's first gold win since 1998 being the standout moment for the Americans, and there was plenty of drama and controversy along the way. Let's take a look at some of this year's defining ice hockey moments.

Teams in this year's Winter Olympics

This year, the men's tournament was made up of 12 teams and was held from to February 14-25, while eight teams competed in the women's competition, from the 10th to 22nd of the month. Eight countries qualified for the tournament, with five of them ranked by the International Ice Hockey Federation and two of them by a qualification tournament. One, South Korea, automatically qualified as hosts.

Korea's combined team

In a historic deal, the women's tournament featured a combined Korean team mixing players from North and South. Under an exclusive agreement with the IOC and the IIHF, 12 North Korean players joined the hosts to form a united team, making an expanded roster of 35. Three North Korean players were selected for each game by coach Sarah Murray. The Korean women's hockey team lost 8-0 to Switzerland on Saturday night in its debut game in front of a sellout crowd.

Controversy in the National League

On April 3, 2017, the National Hockey League announced that its players would not be made available for national team selection in the 2018 Winter Olympics. The decision seems to have stemmed from disagreements between the NHL, IIHF, and IOC over who would pay to insure the players.

While the NHL was open to hearing from any of the other parties on the issue, the NHL confirmed that it had "no interest or intention of engaging in any discussion that might make Olympic participation more attractive to the Clubs." The NHL confirmed that it would not schedule a break for the Olympics in the 2017-18 season.

The National League stated that it does not directly profit from their presence in the Olympics, making it difficult for the league to capitalize on its players' participation in the Games.

USA women's team wins gold

In one of the most satisfying moments in Olympic history, the American women won in a dramatic shootout against Canada, ending their 20-year gold medal drought. The game grew more exciting by the minute until the Americans won 3-2 in a sudden death situation.

According to Omega timekeeping and performance stats (which were fed back to coaches via wearable devices), it was 20-year-old Maddie Rooney who clinched the win for the women's team with her incredible saves and fast reaction times.

The United States' defeat over Canada marks the first time in 20 years that the United States' women's hockey team took home a gold medal, having previously won in 1998 in Nagano, Japan. Canada's loss ended their winning streak of four consecutive winter games, having won since 2002.

U.S. men's team finishes in seventh place

The 25-player U.S. Olympic Ice Hockey Team finished in seventh place among 12 teams competing at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games from February 14-25.

The U.S. men's team opened the preliminary round with a 3-2 OT loss to Slovenia before topping Slovakia 2-1 and falling to the Olympic Athletes from Russia, 4-0. The U.S. then defeated Slovakia again, 5-1, in the preliminary round and closed the competition with a 3-2 shootout loss to the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals.

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