Al Dannity remembers a moment when all of Canada came together, first in tension and then in jubilation, as Sidney Crosby scored the golden goal in the Olympic Hockey Final and looks ahead to the challenge in Sochi.
In this gig you watch a lot of Hockey games. Most are a blur, some jump out with moments you’ll never forget. Few however transcend the sport quite like the 2010 Olympic Hockey Final. In Vancouver, a city without a championship, all of Canada came together to will on this one team on one night.
For true drama you need a quality supporting player and Team USA certainly played their part. While the 2002 final in Salt Lake City was tense, the game didn’t wrestle with emotions like this battle and much of that is down to the valiant effort put forward by the Americans. For 60 minutes they skated with Canada and were a match for them. A Hollywood director couldn’t have imagined a moment as equally gut-punching as it was exciting as Zach Parise’s goal at the end of regulation. The timing was perfect theatre. These warriors from Canada, having given their all, couldn’t slay the Americans and now they were being asked to come out to do battle with them one more time. Forget Grendel, and Grendel’s momma, this was the dragon at the end of Beowulf. Weary and feeling like they had spent a lifetime on the ice, the men of Canada returned to take up arms once more.
Jarome Iginla played the role of Wiglaf to Crosby’s Beowulf. The duo combining to finally put the puck in the back of the American goal. The dragon had been slayed and a nation erupted.
That was Beowulf’s final battle, mortally wounded fighting for his people. For Canada, a new challenge awaits. Canada has not won Olympic gold in Europe since 1952, where the Edomonton Mercurys represented the nation and went 7-0-1 to claim the title. That’s a long time and a totally different era in Hockey. It’s far past time in the modern era, with the best in the NHL playing at the Olympics, to put that right. Next spring the games take place in Sochi, Russia, where the home side will be expected to deliver big. This Canadian team will know all about such pressure after their voyage to glory in Vancouver. They will also know that home ice doesn’t guarantee anything in international play. To take gold, you’ve got to fight for it.