The United States women’s ice hockey team secured a stunning victory over archrivals Canada in the gold medal final of the women’s world ice hockey championships. The game was played in Ontario, with the US winning 6-3 after scoring third-period power play goals just 27 seconds apart. Canada had been leading 3-2 heading into the third period and were on course for a third successive world title. However, sloppy play and two late penalties gifted the US a two-player advantage with just under four minutes left on the clock. Hilary Knight scored two of the three goals in quick succession to complete her hat-trick and secure her nation’s 10th women’s world hockey championships gold medal and first in four years. Caroline Harvey and Abbey Murphy also scored for the US, while Brianne Jenner scored twice for Canada in the second period and set up Marie-Philip Poulin for another goal.
The rivalry between the US and Canada in women’s ice hockey is one of the greatest in sport. No other country has won a world championship or Olympic gold other than these two nations. In the seven Olympic women’s finals, Canada has won gold five times, while the other two titles have gone to the US. Only once have the Canadians and Americans not played each other for the world title, when hosts Finland took silver in 2019.
Earlier on Sunday, Canada’s Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge announced that the government would restore funding to Hockey Canada after the body met three conditions to make the sport safer. Hockey Canada had its funding frozen last year when the national governing body came under scrutiny over its handling of sexual assault allegations. The organisation, which has lost many corporate sponsors amid the scandal, has been under fire since news broke in May 2020 of an alleged group sexual assault involving members of Canada’s 2018 world junior team and a subsequent out-of-court settlement paid for out of player registration fees. The allegations against the unnamed players have not been proven in court. In October, the federation announced the resignation of its president, Scott Smith, and its entire board of directors.
The three conditions needed to restore funding included becoming a full signatory to Abuse-Free Sport and a commitment to more frequently update the government on work to change a toxic culture. Hockey Canada must also review and implement the recommendations from an independent governance review. St-Onge warned that while federal financing is only a fraction of Hockey Canada’s revenues, the funding is not a blank cheque. She cited problems including “toxic behaviours, the trivialisation of sexual violence, and the culture of silence,” saying, “There is no reason why such situations should continue to plague hockey or any other sport.” Hugh Fraser, Hockey Canada’s chair of the board of directors, thanked the government for the “vote of confidence” while acknowledging that “we still have work to do to change the culture of our sport”.