The Canadian national men's ice hockey team (popularly known as Team Canada; French: Équipe Canada) is the ice hockey team representing Canada internationally. The team is overseen by Hockey Canada, a member of the International Ice Hockey Federation. From 1920 until 1963, Canada's international representation was by senior amateur club teams. Canada's national men's team was founded in 1963 by Father David Bauer as a part of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association, playing out of the University of British Columbia. The nickname "Team Canada" was first used for the 1972 Summit Series and has been frequently used to refer to the Canadian national team ever since.
Canada is the leading national ice hockey team in international play, winners of the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union, four of five Canada Cups dating back to 1976, nine Olympic gold medals (the most in the world), including three of the last five: Salt Lake City 2002, Vancouver 2010, and Sochi 2014. They are 26-time IIHF World Champions and winner of the 2004 and 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Canada is a member of the so-called "Big Six", the unofficial group of the six strongest men's ice hockey nations, along with the Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Sweden and the United States.
Hockey is Canada's national winter sport, and Canadians are extremely passionate about the game. Canada was first represented internationally at the 1910 European Championships by the Oxford Canadians, a team of Canadians from the University of Oxford. They represented Canada again at the 1912 World Championships.
From 1920 until 1963, the senior amateur club teams representing Canada, were usually the most recent Allan Cup champions. The last amateur club team from Canada to win a gold medal at the World Championship was the Trail Smoke Eaters in 1961. Following the 1963 World Championships, Father David Bauer founded the national team as a permanent institution. The new permanent national team first competed at the 1964 Winter Olympics.
Before the Soviet Union began international competition in 1954, Canada dominated international hockey, winning six out of seven golds at the Olympics and 10 World Championship gold medals. Canada then went 50 years without winning the Winter Olympic Gold medal and from 1962 to 1993, didn't win any World Championships. This was in part because Canada's best professional players were unable to attend these events as they had commitments with their National Hockey League teams.
Canada withdrew from official IIHF events in 1970 and the National Team program was suspended after they were refused permission to use semi-professional players at the World Championship. Canada returned to the IIHF in 1977 after a series of negotiations between IIHF President Dr. Sabetzki and top officials of professional ice hockey in Canada and the United States. As a result, professionals are allowed to compete at the World Championship and the tournament is scheduled later in the year to ensure more players are available from among the NHL teams eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs. In return, a competition for the "Canada Cup" was to be played every four years on North American territory with the participation of Canada, the United States, and the four strongest European national teams, including professionals.
In 1983, Hockey Canada began the "Program 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. In 1986, the International Olympic Committee voted to allow professional athletes to compete in Olympic Games, starting in 1988. Veteran pros with NHL experience and, in a few cases, current NHLers who were holding out in contract disputes joined the team. This program was discontinued in 1998, when the NHL began shutting down to allow its players to compete.
After not winning a gold medal for 33 years, Canada won the 1994 World Championship in Italy. Since that time, they have won in 1997, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2015 and 2016. Canada captured its first Olympic gold medal in 50 years at Salt Lake City 2002. At Vancouver 2010, Canada won the gold medal with a 3–2 win against the United States in the final. Sidney Crosby's overtime goal secured Canada the final gold medal awarded at the Games. At the 2012 World Championship in Finland and Sweden, Ryan Murray became the first draft eligible prospect to represent Canada at the Ice Hockey World Championship.
Canada successfully defended gold at Sochi 2014, becoming the first men's team to do so since the Soviet Union in 1988, the first to finish the tournament undefeated since 1984 and the first to do both with a full NHL participation. Their relentless offensive pressure and stifling defence has earned the 2014 squad praise as perhaps the best, most complete Team Canada ever assembled. Drew Doughty and Shea Weber led the team in scoring, while Jonathan Toews scored the gold medal-winning goal in the first period of a 3–0 win over Sweden in the final. The architect behind the 2010 and 2014 teams, Steve Yzerman, immediately stepped down as general manager following the win.
Led by general manager Jim Nill, head coach Todd McLellan, and the late addition of captain Sidney Crosby, Canada won the 2015 IIHF World Championship in dominating fashion over Russia, their first win at the Worlds since 2007. By winning all 10 of their games in regulation, Hockey Canada was awarded a 1 million Swiss franc bonus prize in the first year of its existence. Canada scored 66 goals in their 10 games and had the top three scorers of the tournament: Jason Spezza, Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall. Tyler Seguin also led the championship with nine goals. The win secured Canada's return to number one on the IIHF world rankings for the first time since 2010.
All Olympic ice hockey tournaments between 1920 and 1968 also counted as World Championships. They have won a total of 15 Olympic medals.
In the Spengler Cup, Team Canada competes against European club teams such as HC Davos who host the tournament every year in Vaillant Arena. Canada was initially represented by the standing national team at this event, but subsequently is usually made up of Canadians playing in European leagues or the AHL. Team Canada has won a total of 15 Spengler Cups, which is tied with the host team HC Davos for the most titles.
Head coach: Alain Vigneault
List of coaches of the Canada men's national ice hockey team.