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Canada’s ’72 Summit Series team establishes online presence; Josh Harding gets Upper Deck tribute card

September 6, 2014 Leave a comment

Team Canada 1972 launches new website on Summit Series anniversary Online presence released one month before reunion for new legacy project

72 Team Canada 1972 has launched its new online presence on the anniversary of Game One of hockey’s historic “Summit Series.”

Launched in the evening of September 2nd, TeamCanada1972.ca comes exactly 42 years after the first puck was dropped in the eight-game series against the Soviet national team.

Throughout September, TeamCanada1972.ca will revisit the Summit Series with original content and analysis, honouring milestones and events.

The new website – joined by Facebook and Twitter pages – are the first components of the team’s new national legacy campaign, the “28,800 Project” (coined after the total number of seconds played in the series). The legacy venture involves returning the story of Team Canada 1972′s legendary comeback victory to the country’s national dialogue and enshrine its intrinsic lessons of teamwork for all Canadians.

“It’s our way of giving back,” notes Brad Park, Team Canada 1972 defenceman and Hockey Hall of Famer.

Park will join his fellow team-mates at a reunion on October 2, when Team Canada 1972 holds a gala event – “From Legends to Legacy” – to celebrate the official launch of the 28,800 Project.

More about the team, the gala and the legacy venture can be found throughout TeamCanada1972.ca.

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Josh Harding, the Inspirational Minnesota Wild Goalie, Receives a Special Tribute Card from Upper Deck!

As part of Upper Deck’s Heroic Inspirations campaign, Harding will be featured on a collectible trading card he autographed and inscribed for charitable purposes

 HardingJosh Harding is a goalie for the Minnesota Wild® who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in November, 2012. In his first game back post-diagnosis, Harding faced the Dallas Stars™ and stopped all 24 shots for a 1-0 shootout win. Harding was awarded the 2012-2013 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for his perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. With that, he became an inspiration for the MS community and hockey fans everywhere. To pay tribute to Harding’s courage in the face of such adversity, Upper Deck has created a “Heroic Inspirations” trading card that Harding has autographed and inscribed.

The goal of the card is to give people suffering from MS hope and to raise awareness for Josh Harding’s charity; Harding’s Hope (www.hardingshope.org). To start the campaign, Upper Deck has inserted 25 of the cards into packs of the 2014-15 NHL® O-Pee-Chee series. Harding included his signature and an inscription on these cards, “My inspiration is my father.” Harding has signed and inscribed other versions of the card with some of his other inspirations. These additional autographed and inscribed cards will be available with a donation to the charity through the Harding’s Hope website at the start of the 2014-15 NHL® season.

“I’m excited for Upper Deck to join my team to raise awareness for Multiple Sclerosis and to raise funds for people living with MS,” said Josh Harding. “The more I learn about MS, the more I realize how important it is to have a team. The point of adding inscriptions to the cards is to share that you cannot fight MS alone, you need to look for inspiration from your team. I’m hopeful that by sharing some of my inspirations on these new Upper Deck cards, I can help others stay positive and find inspiration.”

“Not only is Josh Harding an incredible player, he has transcended the game by performing at a high level while being challenged by symptoms of the disease,” said Jason Masherah, president of Upper Deck. “Harding serves as an inspiration and people marvel at his accomplishments. We hope that hockey fans and fans of Josh’s story will want to collect his autographed and inscribed ‘Heroic Inspirations’ cards. He truly is an inspiration who has an incredible story of courage, hope and perseverance to share.”

Upper Deck has produced other “Heroic Inspirations” cards in the past for other inspirational athletes. Harding’s card is the first in the series that features an autograph from the athlete and an inscription. Upper Deck’s 2014-15 NHL® O-Pee-Chee arrives in hobby and retail stores today!

About Harding’s Hope

Harding’s Hope is a nonprofit founded by Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding, 2013 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy Winner. Harding’s Hope is raising awareness about multiple sclerosis (MS) and raising funds to support people living with MS. Josh Harding founded Harding’s Hope because he was thankful for the support he received from family, friends, medical staff, and the hockey community after his MS diagnosis. Harding quickly recognized that not everyone living with MS has a team supporting them, and that many people are faced with making a choice between paying for MS treatment or meeting day-to-day expenses. Harding’s Hope is not funding MS research. Harding’s Hope is focused on supporting individuals and families living with MS who are struggling with the costs of treating the disease.

You can help Josh help others. Read more at www.hardingshope.org or Twitter (@HardingsHope) or Facebook (Harding’s Hope).

Find more information on Upper Deck at www.upperdeck.com, www.UpperDeckBlog.com or follow us on Facebook (UpperDeck), Twitter (@UpperDeckSports), and YouTube(udvids).

 

 

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Canada needs gold to regain No. 1 world ranking

February 16, 2014 Leave a comment

Hi folks! The following post was a guest blog I did for www.larry-fisher.com, and was posted there on February 13, 2014. Enjoy! ~SDC

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We call ourselves the best in the world at this sport but, the truth is, Canada is ranked two places outside of a bronze medal in the world. Fifth place, that is.

toewsAs Canada only rounds out the top five in IIHF World Rankings with 2,940 points, an Olympic gold medal would give them an additional 1,200, and vault them to the head of the class with 4,140. That point injection would leapfrog them well past Sweden (first – 3,105), Finland (second – 3,065), Russia (third – 3,040) and the Czech Republic (fourth – 2,975), and reassert Canada’s hockey dominance — not only in the Olympic tournament, but on the world stage.

Canada needs those 1,200 points because, quite frankly, they only send their national best to compete as an intact unit against the world every four years. The IIHF’s other major measuring stick in international competition and rankings is the World Championships. It’s a well-known fact that NHL content is limited every year at that tournament, with the showdown conflicting with Stanley Cup playoff scheduling every year. Many players who are invited to play in the World Championships after their NHL team either does not make the playoffs or is eliminated early from them still opt not to attend, opting to stay home to either heal injuries, or just because they know the tournament does not truly reflect any participating country’s full capacity. While that is entirely their prerogative, it also means Canada misses out on 1,200 points every year, instead of just quadrennially. When the 2014 World Championships are hosted by Belarus from May 9-25 – only three months removed from the Olympic tournament – you can bet that the rosters will again be compromised, and the results will be contentious at best. But though that affects all competing teams, it generally means Canada does not win, and thus plummets further down the ranking ladder.

One intriguing scenario would be for Canada to win both the Olympic and World Championship tournaments, and induce a 2,400-point swing on their standing status. An extraordinary possibility, albeit an unlikely one. The last time the Olympics were held and Canada won the men’s hockey tournament, the only player to reprise his role as a Canadian representative at the 2010 World Championships was Corey Perry. Canada did not medal that year. Further, they have not medaled at the tournament since 2009, nor won since 2007. They did, however, pull off a dual Olympic and World Championship once — 20 years ago in 1994.

Further, both tournaments are held on internationally-sized ice this year. While Canada’s winning percentage on North American-sized ice is impeccable, it would be generous to say they traditionally struggle on the bigger sheet. In fact, Canada has not won an Olympic gold medal in men’s ice hockey outside of North America since 1952, when they struck gold in Oslo, Norway.

While every NHL player transitioning from the smaller sheet is on the same learning curve when it comes to adjusting to the additional 15 feet of rink width, it will be the European club-based players from the KHL and Elite Leagues that will have the advantage over the their visiting teammates and opponents. The question will be whether that factor will be advantageous enough to those already familiar, or whether a week of practice prior to games is enough time to adjust and catch up.

Russia is not projected to win, but a team nearly full of KHL players used to big ice — and competing in their home country — may do better than people expect.

And further still, from Hockey Canada’s standpoint, it would be a crushing blow for Canada’s international rankings for the NHL not to send its players back to the Olympics in 2018. Their world seeding would suffer tremendously after likely dropping their best chance at a quadrennial point spike, while instead likely being represented by amateur players.

So considering that Canada needs to win in order to prove that: 1) 2010 was no fluke; 2) they’re better than fifth; and 3) they can indeed win on big ice, I am picking Canada to win gold.

If we really want to walk around calling ourselves the best hockey nation in the world, and if we want it to actually be true, we have to do more than just want to win — we have to win. That’s a game-changer.

Additionally, silver to Sweden and bronze to Russia. The Swedes are just too good to ignore, and Russia’s home-ice advantage and desire to win at home should not be overlooked.

Dave Cunning is a freelance writer from Kelowna, B.C., Canada, currently residing in Jeju, South Korea. Read his blog: http://davecunning.wordpress.com, follow him on Twitter @davecunning and listen to his podcast: http://xppsp.podbean.com.

World Junior Tournament Well-Stocked With Rockets

December 12, 2011 Leave a comment

[originally printed in The Kelowna Daily Courier on December 8/2011]

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The Kelowna Rockets are going to be well represented during the 2012 World Junior Championships this December and January in Calgary and Edmonton.

Not just on the ice, and not just for Team Canada – Brett Bulmer is the only Rockets’ player invited to try out for the home team. Kelowna’s head coach Ryan Huska will backup Don Hay behind Canada’s bench, Rockets’ athletic therapist Jeff Thorburn will be on Canada’s medical staff, and Filip Vasko will be contending for a spot on Slovakia’s national roster.

Coach Huska is just as excited as the players to be representing Canada.

“It’s a thrill,” Huska said. “The players are always excited to put the jersey on and play for Canada, and it’s no different for coaches – I’m honoured to be part of this team again this year. You get a chance to coach some of the best young players in our country and you get a chance to work with and learn from some great coaches. I’m very excited, and looking forward to it.”

Even though Canada’s won the tournament more than any other country (15 times), they haven’t won gold since 2009, and the country has been chomping at the bit to re-take the throne ever since. Huska’s well aware of the pressure to win on home ice that the club will endure.

“Expectations are to win gold,” Huska stated. “Everybody knows that coming in. Canada has a lot of pride in the teams it puts into international competitions, and they expect to win. There are a lot of countries right now that could win instead of us. Our players need to understand that there will be a lot of pressure on them – especially since we are playing at home – but they have to use it in the right way. We’ll need our group to buy in and play as a team as soon as possible. If we can do that, we’ll give ourselves a chance to win. We all know the expectation is for a gold medal.”

Forty-one of Canada’s top junior players have been invited to take part in Team Canada’s Selection Camp from Dec. 10 to 14 in Calgary. Thirty-six of them are NHL draft picks. Trying to cut another 19 of the country’s best players to get the roster to 22 won’t be any easier than it was to whittle down to the current number.

“Getting down to 41 was a challenge,” explained Huska. “There were probably 15 other guys that were very close to being invited as well. It comes down to putting together the guys that make up the best team. Sometimes that most skilled or most offensive players might not be there in the end, because it’s about having the proper mix of guys that are going to generate offence, but also guys who going to be workers – guys that can kill penalties and bring energy to your team. In a short period of time, you have to find a group of players that are willing to do whatever’s necessary to make this team, and for some that might mean filling different roles than they’re used to. Our job is to find the best 22 guys that can do that.”

Kelowna forward Brett Bulmer is hoping to be one of those final 22 players. Despite being one of only a small handful of other invitees with NHL experience, and playing for Canada’s assistant coach during the season, Bulmer will have to earn his spot just like everyone else.

“The coaches have seen me a lot over the last few years,” said Bulmer. “They know as a big body I can bring a physical element. I want to go in there and be on the body a lot, because I know the European teams probably won’t be able to handle the hitting. I can add offence too though. They have a lot of depth when it comes to scoring – a lot of small, skilled guys – but I can add as much offence as anyone. They’re going to have to cut a lot of great players. I have to show my best at camp and make sure I stand out. I’ll do anything they ask of me – if they tell me to play a certain role, I’ll do it. I can’t go in thinking I have an advantage. I have to work hard, play well and show I deserve to be on the team. I have to make sure I’m ready for it. It’s a huge opportunity for me, and I’m going to make the most of it. I really want to make that team, and I’m excited about my opportunity.

“He needs to be prepared to earn a spot, just the same as the other 40 guys coming to camp. There are no free rides – he’s got to earn a spot just like everyone else. The best way for him to do that will be to use his speed and size. He makes it very difficult for defenceman to handle his size. If he can play to those strengths, he’ll give himself a chance to be on that team. It’s good for me to know him already. I’ve got to know him very well over the last three years. His NHL experience helps too. He’s been in situations in the NHL where he’s played in front of 19,000 people, so he knows every play is important and he can’t have off shifts. It’ll be the same way come Christmas time.”

Rockets’ forward Filip Vasko is excited for his chance to play for his home country of Slovakia as well. Vasko departs on Dec. 15 to join a field of 29 Slovakian players competing to wear their country’s colours on their uniform.

“I think it’s amazing for every guy who gets to play for their nation,” Vasko said. “It’s the same for me. I’m just going to try and play the best I can. I’m very proud.”

The Rockets’ leading scorer Shane McColgan was in contention for Team USA, but was recently announced as being omitted from their roster.

Of the 30 players invited to the American selection camp, 75 per cent were current NCAA players – and only one skater is from the WHL. If players of McColgan’s calibre are not being added to their roster, one has to think Team USA will again be a gold medal contender, and a threat to Canada’s chances.

“It’s a little frustrating for me,” McColgan said. “I’m just going to keep working hard the rest of the season, and try to make that team next year. You can’t really dwell on it though. We have an exciting road trip coming up, and that’s my main focus right now. When I was at the summer evaluation camp, I saw the level of the guys that will be on the final roster. They’re definitely a contender, and I wish them the best of luck. It would have been nice to represent my country, but maybe next year. I hope to be there in the future. It’ll give me time to relax over Christmas, and be fresh for the second half of the season.”

Canada will play intrasquad games on Dec. 11 and 12 and one exhibition game against a CIS all-star team, before finalizing their roster on Dec. 14.

They’ll then play in three exhibition games prior to the tournament, and then open the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship on December 26th against Finland.

***[UPDATE: DEC 14/11]***

For Immediate Release – Dec. 14, 2011

Kelowna Rockets forward Brett Bulmer is heading back to join the Rockets after narrowly missing out on making the Team Canada World Junior Tournament.

Bulmer was among the cuts Wednesday morning as Team Canada named its 22 man roster for the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championship in Calgary and Edmonton.

“It’s pretty disappointing,” Bulmer said in a media scrum at the team hotel after hearing the news. “I thought I worked hard, did everything they asked of me at camp so it’s really disappointing. I thought I had a good shot. I worked hard, got on the body and did everything they asked but…”

Bulmer was in the Rockets lineup Wednesday when the team faced Regina.

The Kelowna Rockets defeated the Regina Pats 3-2 in overtime on Wednesday night.  Wednesday’s game began with a bang when Brett Bulmer scored just 19 seconds into the game, less than 10 hours after being released from Team Canada’s World Junior program. After getting the news, Bulmer made the trip from Calgary to Regina, joining the Rockets and making an immediate impact. For Bulmer it was his 12th goal of the season.

For More Information:

Kevin Parnell, media relations
Kelowna Rockets
Call or text: 250-491-8407
E-mail: kevin@kelownarockets.com

Online:
kelownarockets.com
twitter.com/Kelowna_Rockets
facebook.com/Kelowna-Rockets

Double Championship Challenge Wrap-Up Finale: VIDEO BLOG!

October 18, 2010 3 comments

Everyone remember the Double Championship Challenge (DCC) that I hosted over the last hockey season?  You know, the one to see which players would win both the Olympic Gold Medal and Stanley Cup in the same season?  Well after many candidates and contest entrants were eliminated, when Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, and Brent Seabrook did exactly that, we had a winner.  Congratulations to Rich Abney of Kelowna, the first ever SDC Blogs’ Quadrennial DCC Champion!  Here’s your fifteen minutes of fame (or however long until the next post).  Rich wins the t-shirt you see pictured, and 4 years of bragging rights! [Doubly interesting because Rich works with the runner up, Ryley Herzog, at the same store]  Stay tuned for the blog’s next contest… you could be our next winner!

Without further adieu, enjoy Serenity Now… The SDC Blogs’ first video blog!

Finale Frenzy! The Office vs Parks & Rec, LOST, Seinfeld, and Canada 2′s IIHF Early Exit; In 3-D!!

May 21, 2010 3 comments

So Canada 2 got bounced from the IIHF World Championships, and Corey Perry is eliminated from the DCC.  Anybody care?  The only thing worth bothering with is that Canada will probably lose some ground in the official world rankings for hockey, after we reclaimed it so awesomely in the Olympics.  Meh, we still rule at hockey.  Did anyone really not think Ray Whitney was going to lead us to international glory against Ovechkin, and every other player who was mad they lost at the Olympics, when all our good players were quite content with what they already accomplished for us?

Chicago’s manhandling of San Jose has awoken Joe Thornton from his comatose state, but is it already too late?  Answer: yes.  Montreal decided they like winning better than losing too.  Interesting hockey coming up…

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So The Office ended its most recent season Thursday night.  All year, I was left with a lingering thought of this, one of my favourite shows: I wish the Office writers turned Parks & Recreation’s writers hadn’t given P&R all the good scripts and storylines this season.  It really was not The Office’s best season.  Though the shows’ writers will deny it, P&R is clearly the Pawnee, Indiana version of The Office.   For whatever reason, Rashida Jones, the former Karen Filippelli on The Office  who ended up as the Manager of Dunder-Mifflin Utica, for some reason changed her name to Ann Perkins, cut her hair, abandoned her child and husband, moved to Indiana, became a nurse, and met and befriended Leslie Knope the female, Indiana version of Michael Scott.  There she also met April, the female Dwight Schrute; Mark, the Indiana Jim Halpert; Tom, the Andy Bernard of Indian descent; Jerry, the fat Toby; and Donna, the large, African-American Kelly.  Surely you can make a few other connections yourself if you watch both shows.  Too bad it means that one show has to get mediocre.  Maybe that’s at least partially why Steve Carell isn’t coming back after next season…

With DVR’s, PVR’s, and torrent downloading, is anyone even watching TV anymore?  It’s great to record TV and watch it when you like, but you still have to fast forward the commercials.  To my wife and I, downloading torrents is definitely the way to go.  You can’t watch it immediately because you have to wait for the show to be uploaded, but no one’s doing that anyway, hence all the D and P V-R’ing.   As far as mindless entertainment goes, there’s nothing like watching your favourite 22 minute episode  commercial free.  The only lame part is that you have to wait a week for new stuff.  One of the best moves I ever made (and I give full credit to my wife for this) is starting to watch LOST this way after four seasons had already gone by.  We could string together 3 or 4 episodes together in one sitting, and never be left dangling off any dramatic cliffs unless we chose to.  Now unfortunately, we’ve caught up to speed; luckily right in time for the big finale of which has no chance in satisfying anyone in tying up all the series’ loose ends to viewers’ satisfaction.  Much like Seinfeld’s finale, and Dr. Dre’s Detox album, the hype has created an unobtainable contentment standard.  When you think about Seinfeld’s finale from a logistical standpoint, where did you think Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer – the most cynical and judgemental fictional characters on the planet (albeit the most hilarious as well) – deserved to end up, besides in prison, with each other?  I have a feeling LOST’s finale is going to make sense in the end, but the majority of people will not be happy with it.    

If you’re looking for the BEST TV TORRENT DOWNLOAD SITE IN THE WORLD, look no further than eztv.it .  Posts every day’s new episode torrents, and they’re always virus-free.  If you live anywhere besides the USA, don’t waste your time with hulu.com , no matter what it says you’ll be able to watch.  I want to hack and destroy hulu.com every time it tells me my video can’t be displayed in my region (note to security people reading this: I’m not  actually capable of doing either of those).  I can watch U.S. shows on TV, download U.S. shows from the internet, but can’t stream them from hulu.com because I live outside the U.S. That seems fair.

And lastly, HD and Blu-Ray, Plasma and LCD all seem a little low-tech now that 3D TV’s exist, don’t they?  The technology train sure has chugging along the last few years; this “Digital Age” that we’re living in may end up being the continually the awesomest thing ever, or the complete and utter death of itself and modern commerce.  What’s that? You bought a 50” HD plasma TV last year for $5000 that’s now obsolete?  That’s a shame…

Nothing Says “Best in the World” Like a Stanley Cup AND a Gold Medal In The Same Season.

April 21, 2010 18 comments

As all of Canada is aware (and most of the US is pretending not to know anything about it or what we’re talking about) CANADA WON THE OLYMPICS AND WE’RE THE BEST IN WORLD AT MORE STUFF THAN EVERYONE ELSE ESPECIALLY HOCKEY STILL. 

With that in mind, I was thinking the other day, that there’s a handful of Canadian hockey players that played for Team Canada this past Olympics and won gold there, that have teams that qualified for the NHL playoffs, and have a shot at winning the Stanley Cup this year.  So for the following list of players (and coaches), there’s a HUGE opportunity to pretty much have the awesomest year of hockey possible, if they were to win both championships in the same season:

 

Vancouver Canucks    -    Roberto Luongo

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pittsburgh Penguins   -    Sidney Crosby, Marc-André Fleury (does it count if you didn’t play any games?)

 

 

 

 

 

New Jersey Devils         -    Martin Brodeur, Jacques Lemaire

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago Blackhawks  –   Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Jonathan Toews 

 

 

 

 

 

Nashville Predators  -   Shea Weber

 

 

 

 

 

Los Angeles Kings    -   Drew Doughty

 

 

 

 

 

 

Philadelphia Flyers   -    Chris Pronger, Michael Richards

 

 

 

 

 

San Jose Sharks          -    Dan Boyle, Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton (does it count if you didn’t contribute?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boston Bruins           - Patrice Bergeron

 

 

 

 

 

Detroit Red Wings     - Mike Babcock

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buffalo Sabres            - Lindy Ruff

Members of the Sharks and Blackhawks have the most personnel with the opportunity.  But don’t count out Sid and Fleury’s Pens (mostly Sid’s), Brodeur’s been playing out of his mind for Jersey so far, Doughty may be a darkhorse, wily ol’ Mike Babcock and the Wings always have a chance.  You can count out Luongo. 

So, here’s what I am proposing.  I will allow people to post their bets for Stanley Cup Champs/Olympic Gold aka “Double Hockey Awesomeness & Supremacy” (name subject to change), via the comment board.  Once the last team is eliminated in the first round (to the nearest millisecond) I will tally the final ballots, and close the wagering.  Until the cutoff time, feel free to change your votes, but be warned, I will only take your last choice at the elimination of the final first round team.  The person(s) who correctly choose the correct players/team that win it all this year will receive….something, from me.  I’m thinking an SDC Blogs t-shirt that says “I’M THE SMARTEST MAN/WOMAN ALIVE”, or something like that.  I’ll let you know when I get it nailed down.  Whatever, everyone likes t-shirts, right?

*** SDC TRIVIA: Who was/were the last player/players to win the Stanley Cup /Olympic Gold aka “Double Hockey Awesomeness & Supremacy” in the same season?***

                                                                                                                      (no prize awarded for this one)

So with that, happy betting! Enjoy the playoffs, and may the best/luckiest person win!

GO KINGS GO!

Best. Olympics. EVER: Final Thoughts on Vancouver 2010.

March 1, 2010 1 comment

 

I’m pretty sure I’m going to need some Olympic detox.  Withdrawals are surely on their way.  I was hyper-tweeting on twitter, and my blogs reached record outputs (and hits!).  A few of my readers were concerned I’d never return from Olympic themed blogs.  So, with the intention of moving back to various topics, here is my last Olympic blog… for now.

Sidney. Freaking. Crosby.  I could watch that “Golden Goal” (as announcer Chris Cuthbert called it) on loop for, probably ever.  I heard one comparison already of that goal to the likes of the Paul Henderson goal in the ’72 Summit Series, and the Gretzky-to-Lemieux Canada Cup goal, and I have to say I agree with the alignment.  It really was one of those goals that you’re going to always remember where you were and who you were with when it happened.  It didn’t matter if you were a hockey fan, or even ever played hockey once in your life – if you are Canadian, you were excited.

And wasn’t that the spectacle of Vancouver 2010?  All of us Canadians were excited, everywhere; seemingly all the time.  Not just in Vancouver; not even just in Canada.  Every living room, every pub, bar, airport, restaurant, Tim Hortons’, basement suite, townhouse, apartment, mobile home, rancher, bus, plane, car, city street, or any other dwelling place across the globe that displaced Canadians were currently occupying went absolutely bananas when they saw on their TV or computer, or heard on  their radio or phone that Crosby’s shot went in.  And it wasn’t just during that game; the jubilation and camaraderie really lasted throughout the entirety of the 17 days that were the 2010 Winter Olympics.  There was video evidence from various cities from the East Coast all the way across the country to the West Coast of Canada; from Kandahar, Afghanistan to LAX; of Canadians loving every moment.  I got to experience a few events, and even sported car flags on my vehicle (2 lost due to accidental window roll-downs, and one to manufacturers defect).  And who could forget the red Olympic mittens?  I had my pair.

We cheered and applauded, and/or got a little teary every time a Canadian earned a medal.  Was there a better back-story than Alexandre Bilodeau drawing inspiration from his disabled brother and winning Canada’s first gold medal at home?   We loved seeing giddy Marianne St-Gelais and Charles Hamelin win their medals and embrace.  Who could keep their composure after Joannie Rochette won her bronze just days after the death of her mother?  Canadian males everywhere grunted as Jon Montgomery screamed in victory, and guzzled a pitcher of beer.  We couldn’t stop from singing “O Canada” in the curling rink, and causing non-traditional delays.  The stories go on and on.  And as I referenced already, when Crosby went five-hole on Miller, silenced the fear of loss, and Canada triumphed over the US, and took the overall gold medal lead and set the all-time Winter Olympic record, well, is it of any surprise that IOC President Jacques Rogge was “boo’ed” when he announced the games were officially closed?

Our hearts broke every time one of our athletes told us they felt like they let us down.  Skeleton’ist Mellisa Hollingsworth, and cross-country skiier Devon Kershaw both broke down in tears as they fell short of the medal podium, and Jeremy Wotherspoon capped is career off still without an Olympic gold medal.  Through them wearing their hearts, pride, and passion on the sleeves of their Canadian uniforms, we not only forgave them (we were never mad at them), but we embraced them.

We rallied together anytime negative and irrelevant criticism was thrown our way, and retaliated in a civil way, if necessary.  We defended ourselves in, probably, a most unexpected manner.  When foreign newspapers and other media outlets tried to point out all our shortcomings as hosts, we accented our strengths, did our best to clean up our messes, and kept on waving the Maple Leaf and breaking into spontaneous street-hockey games anywhere and everywhere, with anyone who wanted to join in.  From the time the torch reached our shores from Greece and paraded to every corner of our country, to the time the flame was extinguished and started its journey to the next host, we were a team out there.  Even our Prime Minister placed bets on u

IOC President, Jacques Rogge, assessed Vancouver 2010 as “excellent and most friendly”.  Perhaps in part from being Canadian and watching Canadian broadcasts, my spectrum of the games were quite partisan.  But in all honesty, compared to any other Olympics I’ve seen from any previous year, Vancouver’s 2010 Olympic Games were the best. Games. Ever.  Many have said Canada forged itself a new identity, and put some swagger in our step.  Some say it was there all along.  Whatever it is that we’ve become as far as a united nation, I hope we never forget it.

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