Oh, Canada

KEN WIEBE

, Last Updated: 7:24 AM ET

Maybe it's the sight of the glorious Maple Leaf on the front of a jersey.

Maybe it's the lasting image of a goal that resonates in your memory bank for eternity.

Or maybe, just maybe it's the fact that rooting for your country on a grand stage reminds you why you grew to love hockey in the first place -- the unadulterated passion for the sport.

When all is said and done, today's duel at the 2008 IIHF Men's World Hockey Championship between Canada and Russia at Le Colisee Pepsi might qualify for this list one day.

For now, it will have to serve as the backdrop as we salute the top-10 moments in Hockey Canada history.

10. 2007 World Women's Hockey Championship, Winnipeg

Watching Canada go head-to-head with its arch-rival from the United States and capture gold was an impressive sight. This was the best attended event in the tournament's history and the Canadian team was exceptional, going 5-0.

After defeating the U.S. in overtime in the qualifying round, Canada smoked them 5-1 in the gold medal game.

9. 1995 World Junior Hockey Championship, Red Deer, Alta

During a lockout, Canada iced its first junior dream team and cruised to a 7-0 record, while outscoring their opponents 49-22. This club included future NHLers like Ryan Smyth, Jason Allison, Bryan McCabe, Alexandre Daigle, Darcy Tucker, Wade Redden and Ed Jovanovski.

8. 1982 World Junior Hockey Championship, Rochester, Minn.

An unheralded group came together under the direction of head coach Dave King to post a 6-0-1 record, giving Canada its first gold medal at the WJHC. After rallying for a 3-3 tie with Czechoslovakia in Rochester, Minn., and securing top spot, the team broke into an a cappella version of the national anthem when the actual music couldn't be found. This was the first of 14 golds Canada has won at this event since its inception and the tradition of singing at the conclusion continues today.

7. 1990 World Women's Hockey Championship, Ottawa

The women's game has come a long way since the Pretty in Pink jerseys were unveiled, but Canada gets full marks for capturing gold in the first ever world championship for women's hockey, defeating the U.S. 5-2 in the final. Angela James led the offensive attack with 11 goals and 14 points.

6. 1920 Olympics, Antwerp, Belgium

The Winnipeg Falcons, a squad of Icelandic players founded in 1911, banded together to win Canada's first gold medal at the summer Olympics, crushing Sweden 12-1 in the final game. The Falcons also won the Allan Cup, the national senior championship that year.

5. 2005 World Junior Hockey Championship, Grand Forks, N.D.

With the NHL in full lockout mode again, junior hockey fans were the main beneficiaries as Canada constructed a dream team for the raucous event. The squad, loaded with current NHLers Sidney Crosby, Mike Richards and Dion Phaneuf (to name a few) was downright dominant, outscoring opponents 41-7 while running the table with a perfect 6-0 record, allowing Canada to win its first gold medal since 1997.

3. 2002 Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City, Utah

The E-Center was the site of Canada's two-pronged gold medal triumph and the place where the story of the Lucky Loonie unfolded. Canadian ice-maker Dan Craig buried a Canadian dollar at centre ice before the tournament and the Lucky Loonie was uncovered after the men completed the double play. The women set the table by knocking off the host Americans 3-2 in the championship game. After jumping out to a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes on goals by Caroline Ouellette, Hayley Wickenheiser and Jayna Hefford, Canada gave up one in the third but Kim St. Pierre slammed the door to secure an emotional victory. After the ladies helped provide some additional motivation, Canada came up with a complete effort and bounced the host team 5-2 in the final. Goalie Martin Brodeur was excellent, making 31 saves and Canada got a pair of goals from Jarome Iginla and Joe Sakic and another from Paul Kariya.

2. 1987 Canada Cup, Hamilton

This was the first chance for the two most skilled players of their generation to play on the same team and Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky connected for one of the most famous goals of all time. The series itself was highly entertaining (how could three 6-5 games not be anything but entertaining?) but the climax came at Copps Coliseum as Gretzky dropped the puck for Lemieux and No. 66 came cruising down the left wing before rifling a shot high over the glove of Russian netminder Sergei Mylnikov for the game-winner with 86 seconds remaining in the third period.

1. 1972 Summit Series, Moscow

Not being born yet hasn't deterred me from recognizing the significance of the famous showdown between Canada and Russia. After falling behind in the series Canada roared back and Paul Henderson became a national icon when the puck landed on his stick in front of the net and he shovelled the black disc up and over Vladislav Tretiak for the game-winner with only 34 seconds left in regulation time.


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