A Look at Women's Ice Hockey at the 2022 Winter Olympics

Team USA is aiming for its second straight gold after a dramatic run in PyeongChang

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What kind of encore does Team USA have in store for Beijing after the “Star Spangled Dangle”?

The U.S. women’s hockey team prevailed at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics by winning a shootout against Canada in the gold medal game. American forward Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson dazzled the world with her moves against Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados in the sixth round of the shootout before goalie Maddie Rooney made the final stop for the U.S. to give the country its first gold medal since 1998.

Team USA will be aiming for a repeat in the tournament at the 2022 Beijing Olympics, but will be doing so without assistant captain Brianna Decker who was injured in the team's preliminary match against Finland on Thursday morning.

In the first period of the United States' preliminary round matchup, Team USA’s assistant captain was stretchered off the ice.

The Americans also have to overcome their neighbors to the north -- Team Canada will be seeking revenge after winning straight gold medals from 2002 to 2014. Canada still boasts a loaded roster built to stand atop the podium.

While Team USA and Canada are the headliners, there are eight more teams hoping to skate, shoot and save their way to Olympic glory in China.

Here’s a look at which teams will be competing in Beijing, along with information on the tournament format and Team USA.

What is the format for the Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament?

The 2022 Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament will feature 10 teams placed in two tiered groups, Group A and Group B. Each team will face all four other teams in its group during the group play round.

There are no ties during group play, so teams will earn the following points for the following results:

Regulation win: 3 points

Overtime or shootout win: 2 points

Overtime or shootout loss: 1 point

Regulation loss: 0 points

All five Group A teams will automatically qualify for the quarterfinals, while just three of the five Group B teams will make it.

Here is a look at the quarterfinal and semifinal format:


A1 vs. B3

A2 vs. B2

A3 vs. B1

A4 vs. A5


A1/B3 winner vs. A4/A5 winner

A2/B2 winner vs. A3/B1 winner

The winners of the two semifinals will play in the gold medal match, while the two losers will face off in the bronze medal match.

What are the rules for the Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament?

Though Olympic hockey is played on a wider rink, its rules are similar to those implemented for the sport in the U.S.

Along with a mirroring rulebook, the regulation time format is also the same between Olympic hockey, the National Hockey League and the Premier Hockey Federation. There are three, 20-minute periods with teams switching ends between periods.

Overtime differs between the PHF and Olympic hockey, though. Teams can have four skaters and a goalie on the ice for overtime periods, compared to the NHL and PHF’s three-skater system for the regular season and five-skater system for the playoffs.

The amount of time in Olympic overtime differs based on the round. For group play, overtime is just five minutes long before heading to a shootout. That number is increased to 10 minutes for playoff-round games and 20 minutes for the gold medal game.

Though most rules cover both tournaments, one major difference between men’s and women’s hockey is the amount of body contact that is allowed. Notably, “body checking” has been prohibited from the women’s game since the 1992 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship. “Body contact” is still allowed, but it is up to the officials to regulate based on IIHF rules.

Where will the Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament take place?

Two venues will host ice hockey at the 2022 Beijing Olympics: the National Indoor Stadium and the Wukesong Sports Center, also known as the Cadillac Arena.

The National Indoor Stadium, nicknamed “The Fan,” was built in 2008 for that year’s Summer Olympics and hosted competitions in rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and handball. The arena has a capacity of around 18,000.

Wukesong Sports Center was also featured at the 2008 Olympics as it hosted basketball. The arena also holds a capacity of around 18,000.

What are the groups for the Olympic women’s ice hockey tournament?

The top five teams in the 2020 IIHF Women’s World Ranking are placed in Group A, while the remaining five teams are placed in Group B. Team USA had the highest ranking, followed by Canada, so both teams will headline Group A. 

Here are the two groups in full:

Group A

United States



Russian Olympic Committee


Group B


Czech Republic




Is Team USA better than Canada in women’s hockey?

The Olympic women’s hockey tournament almost always comes down to the U.S. and Canada. The two North American sides have won all six gold medals in the tournament’s history and have played one another in the gold medal game all but one time (2006; Canada beat Sweden in the gold medal game, while Team USA earned bronze).

As an Olympic gold medalist in ice hockey, Hilary Knight is used to playing with an edge, literally skating on them in fact. But put her on a different kind of edge, on a fashion runway, and suddenly she finds herself on thin ice.

Team Canada has already gotten some revenge on Team USA since the 2018 gold medal game. The Canadian squad beat the U.S. for gold at the 2021 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship in August thanks to an overtime goal from Marie-Philip Poulin.

The win marked Canada’s first world title since 2012 and ended Team USA’s title streak at five. The IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship is another tournament dominated by the two countries, as Canada (11) and the U.S. (9) have won all 20 golds since the competition was first played in 1990.

Which countries have Olympic medals in women’s hockey?

Though only the U.S. and Canada have claimed Olympic gold in women’s hockey, three other countries have picked up hardware since the sport was introduced to the Games in 1998.

Finland has the third-most Olympic women’s hockey medals with three, all bronze. The country won bronze in 1998, 2010 and 2018. Finland fell to Team USA in the semifinals in PyeongChang before beating the Olympic Athletes from the Russia squad in the bronze medal game.

Sweden has two medals in Olympic women’s hockey. The nation earned its first medal in 2002 by winning the bronze medal game and took home silver in 2006 after falling to Canada in that year’s gold medal game.

Switzerland is the only other country to earn a medal in the event’s history, securing bronze at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

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