The kooky nine-team format at the IIHF women's world hockey championship will not return for the 2011 championship, TSN noted during the Canada-U.S. broadcast today.
Dropping down to eight means you won't see Canada playing the U.S. with nothing at stake like they are today. In '11, with just two pools, the winners get a bye into the semi-finals, with the second- and third-place teams crossing over for the quarters. The "three pools of three" format has created confusion.
However, it might be a little shortsighted since it means one country's program will probably lose its national funding, including China (population of 1.3 billion), Russia (300 million) and Japan (130 million). On the plus side, hey, the format is easier to follow.
Incidentally, Canada and the U.S.'s pre-Olympic series next fall will include a game in Ottawa. The smart money is on some middle-aged sports reporter complaining about having to cover women's hockey.
(Canada won, 2-1, surviving a late American rally. Charline Labonté was excellent in the third period, so perhaps they come back with her for the final on Sunday.
Holly Horton put TSN's Dave Randorf and Cassie Campbell on the spot to come up with a nickname for Kingston native Jayna Hefford's line with Jennifer Botterill and Caroline Ouellette, which scored both goals. They said, "Bo line" (as in BOH) and "Hob line," but the obvious "HBO line" didn't come to them. As in, "It's not a forward line, it's HBO.")
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