Hockey Day in Canada is a country wide celebration of our beloved game. To fill over 12 hours of programming on a Saturday, CBC usually show a triple header of games featuring all 6 Canadian teams. Through a stroke of luck in the June Olympic ticket lottery, I managed to create my own version of Hockey Day in ……. Vancouver.
Act I – USA v Norway
It felt kind of odd going to a hockey game at high noon but the Americans were involved so I’m not too surprised given a lot of NHL clubs down south play quite a few matinees. The Norwegians were well represented, which was nice to see, but there was no question who were the most vocal. As much as we non-Americans tried to start chants of “Let’s go Norway! Let’s go!”, shouts of “USA! USA! USA!” would eventually prevail. Cdn Gooner & I sat beside a family from Minnesota and they shared stories about their Olympic experiences thus far. Like many we spoke to before, it’s been very positive even though they were staying over on Vancouver Island! The Americans won the game, as expected, and I was impressed with the American support. How I’d love to be there on Sunday when Canada and the U.S. square off for the much anticipated showdown.
Act II – Canada v Switzerland
WOW! What can I say?!
Words cannot describe what an experience it was. The arena was filled with a sea of red. The crowd was passionate and the atmosphere was electric. I think all hockey fans should watch at least one Team Canada game in their lifetime. As for the game itself, the boys wearing the red maple leaf didn’t play particularly well and the citizens got a bit restless when the Swiss managed to tie the game at 2-2. It was a bit too close for comfort but Canada managed to grind out a result in the shootout where Marty Brodeur was outstanding in stopping all Swiss shooters. Pie Pie Lo & I were thoroughly entertained.
Act III – Russia v Slovakia
If game 1 was the expected; game 2 the somewhat unexpected then game 3 would definitely fall under the totally unexpected category. Right from the opening face-off, the Slovaks were very competitive and showed no fear while the Russians, with a star studded collection of forwards such as Ovechkin, Malkin, Kovalchuk, Semin & Datsyuk, can’t seem to get the offence going. Once Marian Hossa tied the game for Slovakia, you can sense their belief and confidence in winning the game. And that they did after an extraordinary shoot out where Alex Ovechkin converted only 1 of 3 chances he had. An incredible ending to an incredible day of hockey! As we walked out of Canada Hockey Place, Jumping French teacher and I were grinning from ear to ear.
12 hours. 3 hockey games. 1 exhausted fan. But it was a day I shall remember for the rest of my life.