Continued from page 1

Thanks to that success and higher visibility, funding is better in both the United States and Canada. A representative of the hockey federation of the host country of the next Winter Olympic games, Russia, was quick to point out his nation had a rich tradition “in men’s hockey — not women’s.”

“Actually, the gap in talent is widening,” said Toronto Sun columnist Steve Simmons. “The Canadians and U.S. have improved more than other countries.”

In the past, the International Olympic Committee has eliminated other sports, such as men’s baseball, where the competition isn’t as good, and although the IIHF says women’s hockey will be on the program in Sochi in four years.

But with the talent level of the two superpowers, there is concern how much longer it will be there.