Rogge: Women's hockey 'cannot continue without improvement'

Somewhat lost in the controversy surrounding the Canadian women's team's victory celebration was the fact that the United States vs. Canada title game was pretty entertaining. The same can't be said, however, for the rest of the tournament.

The United States and Canada dominated the tournament, just like they have since women's hockey was added to the 1998 Nagano Olympics. That concerns IOC president Jacques Rogge.

"There is a discrepancy there, everyone agrees with that," Rogge told reporters. "This is maybe the investment period in women's ice hockey. I would personally give them more time to grow, but there must be a period of improvement. We cannot continue without improvement."

Rogge acknowledged that part of the problem is that the sport is so young, and that keeping it an Olympic sport would help grow the game.

"Women hockey is a young sport, but the sport has to grow. The Games themselves will do a lot to help the popularity of the sport, but you need a couple of years to get to the stage. I have no doubt that in the future, women hockey will be a hit.'"

It's like basketball in the Summer Olympics. No one ever thought that a United States team with NBA players participating could be beaten; then the 2004 Olympics happened and the world realized they could compete with the United States. It just took some time.

Sooner or later another country will knock off Canada or the United States, and that is what will make women's hockey more popular than it has ever been. Let's just hope it's still an Olympic sport at that point.

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