April 9, 2005 â€“ Linkoping, Sweden
Few team sports have been dominated so emphatically by one country as womenâ€™s hockey by Canada. Since the inception of the World Womenâ€™s Championship into the IIHF program in 1990, Team Canada won all eight championships leading up to the ninth Womenâ€™s World tournament in Sweden in 2005. Additionally, Canada had won the 2002 Olympic gold. The only blemish to Canadaâ€™s womenâ€™s record was USAâ€™s win in the 1998 Olympics.
When approaching the 2005 event in Linkoping and Norrkoping, Sweden, Team Canadaâ€™s women had one more incentive to win their ninth title. By doing so, they would tie the Soviet Union menâ€™s teamâ€™s world record of nine straight World Championships between 1963 and 1971. In all eight previous World Championship finals beginning in 1990, Canada defeated the U.S. in the finals, and to no oneâ€™s surprise it was Canada versus USA again when the 2005 gold medal game was played on April 9 at the Cloetta Center in Linkoping. For the first time, Canada had reached the final without conceding a single goal in the tournament.
In the final, the United States was the better team, but like every other opponent Canada faced, it was unable to score. The scoreless game went into overtime and then a penalty shootout. The Americans were clearly the cooler team in the shootout as they put three shots past Canadian goaltender Kim St. Pierre, while Canada managed to score only once. It was only fitting that championship MVP Krissy Wendell was the one who scored on the decisive penalty shot, although it was Angela Ruggieroâ€™s shot that technically counted as the game winner. Finally, USA had won their first Women's World Championship gold.
It was not only a momentous win for hockey and for the U.S. womenâ€™s program, but it was also a wonderful success for the American captain Cammi Granato who had been on the losing side in all eight previous finals. â€śItâ€™s been a long time coming and itâ€™s a historic moment for USA Hockey,â€ť said an overwhelmed Granato after the game.
For Team Canada it was a bitter loss. Not only did the players miss out on the chance to tie the Sovietâ€™s record of nine wins in a row, they lost the title despite not conceding an open play goal during an entire top pool IIHF World Championship. It was the first time it happened since Canadaâ€™s men had done the same at the 1931 World Championship.
As part of the IIHF's 100th anniversary celebrations, www.IIHF.com is featuring the 100 top international hockey stories from the past century (1908-2008). Starting now and continuing through the 2008 IIHF World Championships in Canada, we will bring you approximately three stories a week counting down from Number 100 to Number 11.
The Final Top 10 Countdown will be one of the highlights of the IIHF's Centennial Gala Evening in Quebec City on May 17, the day prior to the Gold Medal Game of the 2008 World Championship.
These are the criteria for inclusion on this list: First, the story has to have had a considerable influence on international hockey. Second, it has to have had either a major immediate impact or a long-lasting significance on the game. Third, although it doesn't necessarily have to be about top players, the story does have to pertain to the highest level of play, notably Olympics, World Championships, and the like. The story can be about a single moment â€” a goal, a great save, a referee's call â€” or about an historic event of longer duration â€” a game, series, tournament, or rule change.