Before the emergence of the Soviet Union, Canada dominated hockey, winning six out of seven golds at the Olympics before 1956 and 13 world championship gold medals before 1961. From 1954 to 1991, Canada was able to win only four World Championships and no Winter Olympic Gold medals when the Soviet, Czechoslovak, and Swedish teams dominated. This was in part because Canada's best professional players were unable to attend these events as they had commitments with their respective National Hockey League teams.
In 1983, Hockey Canada began the Programme of Excellence , whose purpose was to prepare a team for the Winter Olympics every four years. This new National Team played a full season together all over the world against both national and club teams, and often attracted top NHL prospects, veteran pros with NHL experience and, in a few cases, current NHLers who were holding out in contract disputes. This programme was discontinued in 1998, when the NHL began shutting down to allow its players to compete.
Hockey Canada unveiled Team Canada’s 2010 hockey jersey on Monday, the result of a partnership with the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), Nike Canada Corp., the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee. These Hockey Canada jerseys by Nike will be worn exclusively at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Vancouver by the men’s, women’s and sledge hockey teams representing Canada.
“Hockey Canada would like to thank all of its partners that have helped make these special 2010 Winter Games jerseys a reality,” said Bob Nicholson, Hockey Canada’s president and CEO. “These two jerseys will complement our traditional jersey, while respecting International Olympic Committee guidelines for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.”