Posts Tagged ‘Olympics’

[film promo] “The Nagano Tapes” by The Olympic Channel’s Five Rings Films

March 7, 2018 Leave a comment

After recently coming to terms with Team Canada’s men’s hockey team not wearing gold around their necks at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics after previously winning 3 out of the last 4 tournaments, the last thing I thought I’d want to be reminded of was Canada’s first big letdown in the NHL-era Olympics — their semi-final loss to the Czech Republic in Nagano ’98. For most Canadians (myself included), recalling that game is not like ripping off a band-aid, it’s like dragging a knife down a scar. But what very few of us likely knew was how big of an event it was for the Czech Republic to beat the Russians in the final and win the gold for their country, amidst long standing political strife with Russia. The images of jubilation in the streets of the Czech Republic might be enough to make you feel like if Canada wasn’t meant to win, at least the right alternative team did.

The film includes multiple player and Olympic official interviews, dealing with how the NHL came to participate in the Games, players defecting from Czechoslovakia to play in North America, Marc Crawford talking about not choosing Gretzky for the shootout, discussion of the shootout determining the outcome of high profile games, the dominance of Dominik Hasek in goal throughout the tournament, Team USA trashing their rooms in the Olympic village after losing, and lots more.

You can watch the full length film for free here:—the-nagano-tapes/

**PRO-TIP: Be sure to enable subtitles of your native language, as multiple player interviews are conducted in Czech.**

In the meantime, here’s the movie’s official trailer:

Here’s the official press release from the Olympic Channel:





Press release

“The team no one saw coming. The victory no one will forget.”

Olympic Channel’s Five Rings Films Debuts The Nagano Tapes, the Inspiring True Story of the
Czech Republic’s Shocking Victory in Men’s Ice Hockey at the 1998 Nagano Games

Features never-before-seen footage and exclusive interviews with some of the game’s biggest
names including Hašek, Jágr, Lindros, Hull and Yashin

Select full match replays from the 1998 Nagano Games also available online exclusively at

MADRID – 28 February 2018 – The stirring underdog story behind the Czech Republic’s heroic upset at the Olympic Winter Games Nagano 1998 in men’s ice hockey is featured in The Nagano Tapes, the first film in the Olympic Channel’s signature series Five Rings Films. The feature length documentary premiered worldwide on Wednesday, 28 February 2018 on the Olympic Channel at and its mobile apps, in addition to telecasts on NBCSN in the United States, Eurosport in Europe and beIN Sports in MENA.

The Nagano Tapes features the men´s ice hockey tournament of the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, where professional players from the NHL participated in the Games for the first time. Among the many “Dream Teams”, the underdog squad from the Czech Republic led by Jaromír Jágr and Dominik Hašek stunned the world on its way to a historic gold. Their triumph in Nagano is recognised as a defining moment and a source of national pride at a time of the country’s resurgence.

“When I think of Nagano I think that was the best competition ever,” said Jágr of the 1998 tournament. “When I think of Nagano it means that anything is possible because even hockey players from a small country like Czech Republic could win it.”

Bringing the documentary to life are interviews with some of the world’s best ice hockey players who relive their experience in precise detail including the Czech Republic’s Hašek, Jágr and Petr Svoboda, Canada’s Theo Fleury, Eric Lindros and Marc Crawford (Coach), the USA’s Brett Hull and the Russian Federation’s Alexei Yashin.

The film covers aspects of the lives of Czech hockey players during the Communist regime and the entry of European players into the NHL.

“I worked on my craft to better my life and to have, not only for money, but to have a life that you can explore fully,” said Svoboda about his decision to defect from Czechoslovakia in the 1980’s. “So, I took that chance and I was really excited about just being in a democracy where you can grow as a human being.”

Also addressed are the rumours of Team USA’s unsportsmanlike behaviour following their loss to the Czech’s in the quarterfinals, and the infamous omission of Wayne Gretzky from the shootout in Team Canada’s semi-final loss.

“I’ve lived the rest of my life with the criticism of that shootout,” said Crawford, coach of Canada’s 1998 team. “I know that my epitaph will read on my gravestone, ‘here lies Mark Crawford, the dummy that didn’t choose Wayne Gretzky in the shootout’.”

Directed by Sundance award winner Ondřej Hudeček from the Czech Republic, The Nagano Tapes also features never-before-seen IMAX footage and exclusive International Olympic Committee (IOC) archive material. The Nagano Tapes moniker is a nod to the popular video tapes and VCR’s of the time, while the documentary also uses throwback music and video from the decade keeping with the 90’s theme.

The Nagano Tapes is the first film in the Olympic Channel’s signature documentary series, Five Rings Films, produced exclusively for the global media platform by Hollywood legend Frank Marshall(“Jason Bourne,” “Jurassic World” and “Indiana Jones”) and Mandalay Sports Media (MSM). Five Rings Films is a five-episode series of incisive and entertaining documentaries directed by some of the biggest names in film from around the world.


About the Olympic Channel:

The Olympic Channel is a multi-platform destination where fans can discover, engage and share in the power of sport and the excitement of the Olympic Games all year round. Offering original programming, news, live sports events and highlights, the Olympic Channel provides additional
exposure for sports and athletes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in 11 languages. The Olympic Channel was launched in August 2016 in support of the IOC’s goal, set out in Olympic Agenda 2020, of providing a new way to engage younger generations, fans and new audiences with the Olympic Movement. Founding Partners supporting the Olympic Channel are Worldwide TOP Partners Bridgestone, Toyota and Alibaba. The Olympic Channel is available worldwide via mobile apps for Android and iOS devices and at

Social media:

You can follow the Olympic Channel on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube, or log on to

Editor’s Notes:

Link to film, trailers and select match replays:—the-nagano-tapes/

Media Contacts:

Sarah Bronilla

Catherine Philbin


XP PSP s01e14: San Jose Sharks’ Matt Irwin interview

March 29, 2014 Leave a comment

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

He may not be a household name just yet, but San Jose Sharks defenseman Matt Irwin may work his way into your mental NHL player directory yet. Now in his second NHL season, the 26 year old British Columbian is continuing a trend from his amateur career that has seen his point totals, ice-time, and contributions to his team’s success dynamically increase every year.

Irwin spoke with me at length about his long road to the NHL and what he’ll have to do to stay there, the tough decisions he was required to make and small window of opportunity he had to live out his dream, past teammates that helped get him where he is now, current ones that help make him better, what the San Jose Sharks will have to do to win their first Stanley Cup, what it takes to be consistently inserted into a lineup full of Olympians, All-Stars, and Stanley Cup champions, and more.

Click here to listen to the XP PSP audio podcast at Podbean

Download XP PSP on iTunes

Click here to read the written version of this interview on The Score’s Backhand Shelf.

XP PSP s01e12: Justin Bourne debriefs Sochi 2014 hockey

March 3, 2014 Leave a comment

In episode 12 of XP PSP, Justin Bourne from The Score dropped by to debrief the Sochi 2014 Olympic hockey tournament with me, and discuss it’s implications on the NHL moving forward. We talked about Canada’s route to gold, USA’s fall from grace, Backstrom’s Olympic suspension, how it affected Sweden’s outcome and why team doctors weren’t regulating his intake better, whether Canada’s win justifies all the heavily critcised roster adjustments the coaching staff made, who steps into Steve Yzerman’s role next Olympics, who Canada would send if the NHL chose not to participate in the 2018 Olympics, what the alternative to the Olympics as a best-on-best tournament would be, how John Tavares’ Olympic injury affects the decision for the NHL to return or not, how it affects the Islanders going forward this season, how Olympic performances affect NHL players finishing their NHL season, and more.

Click here for the XP PSP audio podcast at Podbean


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, and was posted there on February 13, 2014. Enjoy! ~SDC


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:, follow him on Twitter @davecunning and listen to his podcast:

Canada’s 2014 Olympic men’s hockey roster

January 7, 2014 Leave a comment

The speculation is over. Hockey Canada officially named their Olympic men’s hockey team roster on January 7th. Here are the men defending Canada’s 2010 gold medal:


Jamie Benn,Patrice Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Sidney Crosby, Matt Duchene, Ryan Getzlaf, Chris Kunitz, Patrick Marleau, Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Patrick Sharp, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Jonathan Toews


Jay Bouwmeester, Drew Doughty, Dan Hamhuis, Duncan Keith, Alex Pietrangelo, PK Subban, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, and Shea Weber


Roberto Luongo, Carey Price, Mike Smith


What do you think? Did they get it right? Who would you have added or deleted?

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

March 1, 2010 2 comments


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.

Olympic Quips: Quality Over Quantity, Happy With Harper, Big Kid Pictograms, and More Hockey Thoughts.

February 27, 2010 6 comments

Our country, and the world, has certainly been critical of our little “Own The Podium” program that we developed.  Now, the goal was to win more medals than any other country, and the likelihood of that happening is fading.  But do consider the following:  We’ve won more gold medals than anyone else, meaning we’re the best in the world at more sports than any other country, INCLUDING the first place US.  We tied the all-time Winter Olympic record for most gold medals at 13.  If a country had 32 bronze medals for coming in third every time, and another had a fraction of that amount in gold first place medals, wouldn’t you give the nod to the country with the gold’s?  Also, we’ve set another Canadian record for our medal count in Torino, which also was up from the previous record.  And thirdly, our female athletes are destroying our male athletes in medal winnings. 


I think it’s pretty cool that our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper is attending so many Olympic events.  Apparently he’s been paying his own way for tickets (as he should be), so he must have some deep pockets; tickets for medal events like he’s attended are all in the multiple hundreds of dollars range.  That aside, you likely wouldn’t see US President Barack Obama, or certainly not our old friend George W Bush, amongst the common people at such a largely populated public event.  Harper’s high-fiving Wayne Gretzky, and hugging athletes as they win medals.  I like it.


Who did Pepsi think they were kidding when they tried to make us chant “Eh Oh Canada Go” because they had a contest and awarded a prize to someone

no sir, I don't like it.

 who came up with, what they believed to be, the best original chant?  I’m sure the entrant meant well, but come on.  Chants are as spontaneous as the wave, or events depicted in Bacardi commercials; like throwing a lot of rocks in the water, building an island, and having an insane party, all on a whim.  Our standard “Go Canada Go” chant is fine the way it is.  Also, I’ve enjoyed “WE WANT RUS-SIA CLAP, CLAP, CLAP-CLAP-CLAP”; also sub-in SWE-DEN and U-S-A at the sight of inevitable Team Canada hockey wins as my favourites so far.    


can they get a vase to go?

What’s the deal with the presentation of flowers after the medals?  I know in Roman times, the flowers were quite coveted by the winners.  Surely, it’s a tip of the cap to that tradition, today.  But I mean, I’m sure the athletes are like, “WOW THIS IS AWESOME I’M THE BEST THIS MEDAL RULES… oh, and thanks for the flowers… hold on, I gotta put these in some water… for something that’s gonna die fairly soon, these seem like something that we could’ve saved spending money on for something for necessary.”  Here’s a little quip about where the bouquets are made.


I’m glad Vancouver 2010 decided to use pictograms to visually interpret the events that don’t look like kindergarten scrawls, as has been done consistently for like, ever.  These ones are well drawn, and actually look like what they are supposed to depict. 


Team Canada’s Women’s hockey team prrrrrobably shouldn’t have been drinking champagne and smoking cigars in the public eye after their gold medal victory, especially with an underaged player on the team participating.  But you’re kidding yourselves if you think these things weren’t happening anyways in the dressing room.  They just got caught.  Oops.  Add this to the IOC’s list of reasons that will be reviewed to support women’s hockey remaining as an Olympic event… hmm, probably should’ve kept it in the room.  Well, they are the best in the world, again.  And they beat the Americans.  On those fronts, nice going girls!

Finally, after squeaking by Slovakia, CANADA IS GOING TO DESTROY THE US IN HOCKEY AND WIN THE GOLD MEDAL AND AVENGE THEIR ROUND ROBIN LOSS AND SETTLE THE PSYCHE OF ALL CANADIANS.  Given, the US has a great team, a hot goalie, and it would be good for the business of hockey for them to win, but my allegiances are unquestioned.  I have a friend who is a die-hard Calgary Flames fan/Vancouver Canucks hater, so much so that the mere thought of Roberto Luongo being credited for Canada’s success  spurs on thoughts of “Lu” assassination, and instead wants Iginla  to be credited for all triumphs.   I’ve got another (American) friend who only gets interested in hockey when the US plays Canada.  After some back and forth text-taunting since the first game, I NEED Canada to win for my own pride.  Is it interesting to anyone else that North American teams only make it to the Olympic finals when the games are played on NHL sized ice instead of Olympic sized ice (an insane stat; what other reason is there to have Olympic sized ice if not to be used AT THE OLYMPICS?)  I think we can all agree, it’s going to be one heck of a game.  Lets go Salt Lake City on ’em!

we look better in gold.


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