Three minutes remain. The quietness of accepted defeat has settled upon the office. Every computer screen stays focused on Sochi, but enthusiasm is subdued and hope all but discarded. The Canadian Olympic women’s hockey team is down 2-0 against the United States in the last minutes of the final game in the event. Expectations shift from visions of gold to those of silver.
Gasps suddenly erupt on one side of the floor, rippling across the room as the time delay catches up on the other side. Canada got the puck in. The score is now 2-1, with only three minutes left to go in the third period. Our women might actually still have a chance.
As the one remaining minute of regulation time counts down, Canada scores another goal. The game goes into overtime. People sit tense in their seats.
An aggressive showdown ensues with penalties on both sides, and a deciding flick of a hockey stick fires the puck into a net. Shouts of joy resound from every desk. In a climactic comeback, the Canadian women have seized that coveted gold standing.
Can the men pull it off as well? To find out, days later we rise before the sun. With jerseys and pajama bottoms, pancakes and Molson, we prepare for the concluding hours of these monumental games.
We are still a little groggy as Canada and Sweden take the ice. When Canada gains the first point of the game, we become instantly alert. A second one and we are wide awake. By the third goal, we are wild with excitement. Each of these goes unanswered right up until the final buzzer sounds, and we cheer against the backdrop of a glowing dawn. The men, too, have placed gold.
Though our athletes have seen many successes in these winter games, it is always hockey that seems to most unite the patriotism in all of us Canadians watching. Whether tuning in from work, home, or anywhere else with a screen or radio, the whole country now rejoices.
For the second year in a row, both Canadian hockey teams have achieved Olympic victory. To all the men and women involved in, well done! Let’s do it again in another four years.
– Cory Stumpf