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The Big Seven is the nickname given to the American National Team, the Canadian National Team, the Czech National Team, the Finnish National Team, the Russian National Team, the Slovakian National Team and the Swedish National Team together. This name reflects the fact that they all can beat each other and finish first in international competitions when their lineups feature all their best players. It is usually acknowledged that there exists a gap between the seventh and eight nation; this gap is what permits to say there is a Big Seven (and not a Big Eight or a Big Nine, for instance).
However, in recent years, the Swiss National Team has bridged the gap between the seventh nation and themselves and, as such, they are likely to be the next member of the top tier of international hockey.