Olympic Hockey Gold Medal
When Canada is going for another Olympic Hockey Gold Medal you will see all sorts of crazy Canucks come out of the nowhere in any country to band together and try to find the games… this is one of those stories.
The Round Robin
Here in Nepal, the first couple of games were impossible to find, couldn’t even stream them. But after all, there’s not that much excitement when the powerhouse Canadian Hockey Team is playing some of the countries that, for some reason or another, don’t seem to care too much about Hockey.
It was, however, quite unnerving… Never have I experienced a complete inability to stream the games, I couldn’t even stream the radio broadcasts… brutal! Somehow or another, the TV showed the last 10 minutes of the round robin Women’s game in between Canada/USA, which provided hope and an insatiable desire to watch the rest of the games.
I met another Canadian the day of the Women’s Gold Medal and we sat down to watch it… nothing. So I ventured back to my hostel, and alone in my room with a computer went back to the updates that I had been receiving from this British bloke.
Why British you ask?
Well, as it turns out, this Scause (my buddy blames his almost unintelligible but absolutely hilarious accent on being a Scause… ie… from Liverpool) was my best friend in Honduras a few years back when the Canucks were making a run for the Stanley Cup, and he watched every game with me, getting really into Hockey. When the Olympics started up, he was watching every game, and filling me in on all sorts of things. I couldn’t have asked for a better play-by-play or analysis (unless of course, it hadn’t been via Facebook)
Women’s Gold Medal Game
As I sat down, my lovely sis came on Skype, telling me that the Women had just tied up the game in dramatic fashion, and overtime was about to start for the Gold Medal, then her and her husband came up with this brilliant idea. Since they were streaming the game, they held up a mirror so that I could watch the streamed version of the game via Skype… Okay, the quality wasn’t great due to my computer, but for the most part I could hear the game and kind of see the contrast of black figures against white ice… And what an exciting finish… GOLD MEDAL CANADA!!!
Adrian (the other Canuck) and I had resorted to a seldom updated blog to get brutal updates during the Canada-Latvia game which was waaay to close for comfort. We knew that we had to find a better solution for the men’s Canada/USA game. We did everything we could, no TV, no streaming… so we borrowed a friend’s computer and got back on the ‘ol Skype with my wonderful sister, her husband and their 7 month old daughter, and watched the game through a mirror.
It really gave that authentic Russian feel when the writing on the screen would appear backwards due to watching it in a mirror… we felt like we were right there in Sochi watching the game.
The video stalled at times, but the audio was good. We even had some fantastic adlib play-by-play provided by my darling 7 month old niece who had some wonderful insight about the Hockey game… and did a great job of showing us exactly what it sounds like to be a Hockey player without any teeth… brilliant!
Men’s Gold Medal – Canada vs. Sweden
So we were going into the gold medal… Thankfully, the folks in Sochi were thoughtful enough to make the Gold Medal game at a more reasonable hour for the Nepali public (5:45 pm) and decided that it really wasn’t that important what time it played in Canada.
So, as my mother woke up at 4am to go to Jean’s house (who happens to be 87 years old, and woke up at 3am to get coffee made and the game all prepped); many of my hometown friends attempted to stay sober enough to still be cognizant when the game started at 4am; whilst others decided to wake up after a couple of hours of sleep and head to the only pub in town that had acquired the special license to stay open.
Meanwhile, the east coast of Canada was a little better off, so my sister and niece prepped the Skype/mirror around 7am should I need it. In fact, There had been multiple responses to my plea for help via Facebook… So, as I wandered around Kathmandu certain that there would be someone playing the GOLD MEDAL GAME, I had a whole support network setting up back home, some of them at 4am, some at 5am and some at 7am (no one in that middle time zone… clearly I’m going to have to make some more friends in Manitoba)…
Back in Nepal
We found live coverage that cut in just after the Toews goal… literally in time for the replay at the 8 minute mark of the 1st period. By the beginning of the 2nd period I had already asked the bar owner a couple of times how we could get the audio on. But he informed us that the big screen had no audio… who does that?!
However, much to our delight, halfway through the 2nd, he found the same channel on a different TV behind us and cranked the Audio on that badboy… so there we were, Adrian and myself along with Alex (another Brit friend), 5 other Canadians, 1 Swede and 1 Dane (I think?)…
Yes, we had many friends there, after all there’s many reasons why Hockey players make good travelers.
…watching as Crosby stole the puck and converted on an amazing breakaway… proving that both him and Toews are of the mindset that they’ll play big when the big games come around… and then Kunitz iced it off in the 3rd with his first of the tournament.
And as we watched the seconds tick down, I reflected back to the much more extravagant story of my mother and I finding the gold medal game four years earlier in Thailand, and then to the time I flew home from Honduras to watch the Canucks in the Finals two and a half years ago (and yes, being there for the riot)… and I came to realize that having a ridiculous obsession with this game can be insane, but it also provides unique opportunities for some great stories… and a great opportunity to be proud to be Canadian… and the last seconds tick away… 3… 2… 1…
Carey Price back-to-back shutouts to put the goaltender debate to rest and it’s another OLYMPIC HOCKEY GOLD MEDAL FOR CANADA!