TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

April 13, 2019 — Finland with a flouish

It was about 13 years ago when your Founder attended a women’s ice hockey game between the United States and Finland.

But I noticed, in the tunnels and hallways of the arena where the USA-Finland friendly was being held, that the Finnish players were doing everything necessary in order to make themselves successful, even though they may not have had the physical gifts of the American team at the time. Even a half-hour after the game, team members were warming down on stationary bikes and doing plyometrics with rubber tubes.

This morning, the hard work and a little home cooking may have helped in the semifinal round of the IIHF Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships, as Finland beat Canada 4-2 in Espoo, Finland.

Then, as now, the world of international women’s ice hockey has two competitive levels. One comprises the United States and Canada; the other level is “everyone else.”

Here’s how dominant that top level has been: in every one of the 18 previous IIHF World Championship tournaments dating back to 1990, the U.S. and Canada both were in every single final.

And don’t discount Finland’s chances tomorrow in the championship. The team has a group of experienced players in front of goalie Noora Raty, who is widely seen as one of the best goalies in the world, coming from the University of Minnesota and having played for the Chinese team competing in the recently dispanded Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

Should be an interesting matchup tomorrow.

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