Monday, August 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Winter Olympic hockey: Canada not loyal to 2010 in selecting Sochi team

Hockey Canada will be entering the 2014 Sochi Olympics with the intention of repeating their gold-medal finish in the 2010 games. While the intended result remains unchanged, the same isn't true of the roster asked to accomplish it.

Kevin Lowe, a member of Hockey Canada's management team, explained that Hockey Canada is not going to be biased in selecting players based upon their participation with the 2010 team, via ESPN.com:

"We are much more open-minded to have a different team than the gold-medal team in Vancouver. Not that we were close-minded for '06 after Salt Lake but certainly respectful of the group that had won in '02. You know, there were the incumbents, the ones who had won ... We felt they were still capable of delivering as a group. Well, this is a lot different than the National Hockey League. It is four years removed from [the Vancouver Olympics]."

Canada ended a 50-year gold-medal drought with their victory in the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. The team followed up that performance with a seventh place finish in the 2006 games in Torino. When looking back on that drastic decline in performance, Pierre LeBrun of ESPN writes that loyalty to the gold-medal winning team and the larger ice surface in Torino were primary factors.

According to comments from Lowe and assistant coach Ken Hitchcock, those will be points of emphasis leading up to Sochi. In addition to the potential of an overhauled roster, Hockey Canada will focus on selecting players who have foot speed and excel in puck movement.

Given the larger rink, these are logical attributes to look for when assembling a team.

Apparently, Hockey Canada has already identified 11 players who are 'locks' for the 2014 Olympics. That leaves 11 spots for players to earn between now and December.

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This article originally appeared on SBNation.

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