From time to time, TheIHLC.com will feature detailed recaps and boxscores of some of the most legendary games in international hockey history, considered to be “IHLC Classics.” Today, in honour of American Independence Day, we look back at the final tilt between Team USA and Canada at the 1996 World Cup Of Hockey, where the Americans won their first ever “best on best” world title.
By 1996, the United States had replaced the Soviet Union / Russia as Canada’s principle international rivalry. In part this was because the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 had rendered the Russians more vulnerable and not as dominant. In part, the rivalry had been as political as it was sporting, so without the cloak of the Iron Curtain, the two countries weren’t nemeses any more.
And, in part, it was because of the emergence of the U.S. as a true hockey power. Canada had defeated the Americans — not the Soviets — in the 1991 Canada Cup, and the core American players from that team were now in their prime in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.
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