A silver medal is usually reason to celebrate, but in Canadian hockey, it puts a team under the microscope.
The senior women’s team is finding out the hard way after falling to the United States in the gold-medal game at the IIHF world championship in Finland on Easter weekend.
“For a lot of nations to get a medal at the world championship — whatever colour — they’re happy,” said Johnny Misley, Hockey Canada’s executive vice-president. “Not with us. If we don’t (win gold), we’re going to ask a lot of questions.”
With the 2010 Olympics around the corner, Misley is leading a review of the program to ensure it delivers on its promise as one of the country’s best hopes for gold in Vancouver.
That process occurs after every season, but Misley has taken the unusual step of setting a completion deadline of next week. If changes are necessary, they will be made before 2009-10 camp opens on May 25 in Dawson Creek, B.C.
The 4-1 loss was Canada’s second straight setback in the world championship final and third in the past four tournaments. Canada, which has won gold at 11 of 15 world championships and Olympics, had outscored its opponents 30-2 coming into the game and beat the U.S. 2-1 in the round robin.
“We were the far better team (than the U.S.) in that round-robin game.
“For some reason, 48 hours later, we laid a golden egg, or, pardon the pun, in this case, a silver egg.”
After the loss, head coach Melody Davidson publicly questioned whether she should keep her job. Misley said coaching is just one of the elements that will be examined.
“How could we have done so well and all of a sudden just tighten up and have everything fall apart?” he said. “The coaches and players are accountable for what happened. The debriefing process will expose a number of those areas.”