Can Canada still win the men’s Ice Hockey Gold Medal at the Beijing Olympics? Here we look at Canada’s chances and give you our picks for who we think will stand on the top of the Olympic podium.
The Ice Hockey events are one of the main attractions of any Winter Olympics, but with no NHL players at this year’s games, the landscape has completely changed.
The decision by the NHL and NHLPA to withdraw their players from the Beijing Winter Olympics saw the original betting odds obliterated.
2022 Winter Olympics; Men’s Ice Hockey Betting
Canada was set to go into the Olympics as the favourites, but that changed the moment the NHL moved the goalposts.
Starting at 1.80 favourites, the Canadians are now fourth in the betting at 7.00. They sit behind new betting favourites, ROC (Russian Olympic Committee), as well as Finland, and Sweden.
The new odds in full are…..
|2022 Winter Olympics; Men’s Ice Hockey Winner|
Who are the Defending Champions?
The defending champions are the ROC. They won the Gold Medal match in 2018, defeating Germany 4-3 in the final in OT.
The ROC had a strange run to the final. In their first knock-out match, they needed OT to beat Slovenia 2-1.
They then demolished Norway 6-1 in the quarter-finals and the Czech Republic 3-0 in the semi-finals.
After dismantling the Czechs with such ease, the final against the Germans was expected to be more a formality.
In the end, the Germans (ranked ninth after the preliminary round) ran the ROC very close and almost pulled off an unlikely shock.
What Nations have qualified for the 2022 Olympics’ Men’s Ice Hockey Competition?
A total of 12 teams are taking part in this year’s competition.
- Czech Republic
Of those twelve teams, eight qualified via the IIHF Rankings as of May 2019. The eight nations are Canada, ROC, Finland, Russia, Czech Republic, USA, Germany, and Switzerland.
Three nations won qualifying tournaments (Slovakia, Denmark, and Latvia). While China automatically qualified as hosts.
What are Canada’s Chances of Ice Hockey Gold?
Up until the withdrawal of the NHL players, Canada’s chances of Olympic gold looked good. When the withdrawal announcement came, Canada’s odds shot out from 1.80 favourites to 7.00 in an instant.
Team Canada still can’t totally be discounted though. They may be 7.00, but they are still fourth favourites.
They have an interesting mix of Olympic veterans and up-and-coming stars in the squad. On their day, they will be a match for anyone. But it’s stringing a run of results together that could be their main problem.
The change in Olympics betting odds has made one thing far clearer though; if you were planning a patriotic bet on Canada, you’re now getting far better value for your money at 7.00!
2022 Olympics; Men’s Ice Hockey Format
Anyone who can remember the format from 2018 out there? Well, it’s the same. For those who can’t remember, it starts with the twelve teams divided into three groups of 4.
- Group A – Canada, USA, Germany, China
- Group B – ROC, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Denmark
- Group C – Finland, Sweden, Slovakia, Latvia
The three group winners along with the best second-place team (just one), automatically go into the quarter-finals.
The remaining eight sides play a preliminary knock-out round with the 4 winners going into the quarter-finals.
It’s a straight knock-out competition from there with OT and GWS (shoot-outs) determining the winner if matches end in stalemate.
2022 Winter Olympics; Men’s Ice Hockey Betting Picks
With the NHL players’ withdrawal, it’s hard to see past the defending champions, the ROC. They are certainly the strongest-looking side on paper, but in knock-out competitions, it’s not always the strongest side that is victorious.
The ROC’s 25 man roster is made up of players from the strong KHL (Kontinental Hockey League). The KHL is made up of sides from Russia, Belarus, China, Finland, Kazakhstan, and Latvia.
It’s worth noting that the KHL is regarded as the strongest hockey league in Europe. It is second only to the NHL.
Seven members of the ROC 2022 squad are gold medal winners from 2018.
Vyacheslav Voynov, Nikita Nesterov, and Yegor Yakovlev, all defensemen, return from the Pyeongchang 2018 squad. As does forwards Mikhail Grigorenko, Sergei Andronov, Nikita Gusev, and Vadim Shipachyov.
This is a serious team and at 2.60 I make them one of my Ice Hockey picks to win gold at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
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At odds of 7.00, I’m also going to take a punt on Canada. It’s got all the ingredients of a fairy-tale story, and it’s value for money.
Led by the veteran forward Eric Staal, who won Olympic gold at Vancouver in 2010, Canada has selected a squad containing ex-NHL players, and future NHL prospects.
Although all on the wrong side of 30, Canada has been able to pick David Desharnais, Daniel Winnik, Adam Cracknell, Josh Ho-Sang, Eric O’Dell, Ben Street, Jason Demers, Mark Barberio, and Tyler Wotherspoon. All ex-NHL.
To complement this experience, NHL prospects Mason McTavish and Owen Power – both teenagers – are also included.
At odds of 7.00, I believe Canada is worth a small risk and they are my second pick to win Ice Hockey Gold at the 2022 Winter Olympics.
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