Go crazy, Canada: Hockey win triggers big party

After winning 14th gold medal, Canada erupts in celebration

By Greg Beacham
March 1, 2010 6:37PM (UTC)
main article image

Human gridlock downtown. Dancing on tables in bars. Fireworks erupting, cowbells clanging and flags waving on hockey sticks.

Any way people can celebrate both wildly and peacefully, Canadians did it around Vancouver on Sunday immediately after beating the Americans 3-2 in overtime to win the gold medal in the men's hockey tournament.


"This is the most patriotic moment of my life," said 31-year-old Vito Rizzuto of Vancouver. "We deserved it. We got it. Gold!"

When Sidney Crosby scored the winning goal, a group of guys on the popular Robson Street threw one of their friends into the air. Groups of people climbed atop the plexiglass roof of bus stops, causing the metal-framed structures to sway. More folks climbed atop the second story of a Salvatore Ferragamo shoe store waving flags, hugging and posing for pictures.

At the gridlocked intersection of Robson and Granville, people were crowd surfing and clinging to lampposts, singing the soccer victory song, "Ole! Ole!"


"The crowds are good-natured so far," police spokeswoman Jana McGuinness said about an hour after the game. "We're very busy with searches of crowds in certain areas. But no problems. We've got a few kids trying to climb a couple lampposts. Overall so far, it's going great."

The hockey victory -- the final event of the Vancouver Olympics -- made it 14 gold medals for Canada, the most any country has won at a Winter Games.

That gave the hometown fans only more to celebrate, and they gladly did.


"Pandemonium!" screamed bartender Derrick Smith, who was so overwhelmed by the madness inside his bar, the Lamplighter Pub in the Gastown section, that he ran outside for a breath of fresh air.

"This is nuts!" he said, calling it his busiest day ever.

A duo of waitresses emerged from a nearby Old Spaghetti Factory, screamed "We won!" and headed back to work.


In the Mount Pleasant neighborhood, fans leaned out of windows clanging cowbells. People screamed and danced, and drivers honked their car horns. A passing police car flashed his lights and briefly flicked on his siren -- in celebration, not to break anything up.

In the village of Whistler, below the mountain where the Alpine skiing races were held, a group of six men ran across cobblestone paths, each waving a Canadian flag, one attached to a hockey stick, another to a fishing rod.

The main plaza at the center of the village was packed full of people yelling as Crosby's goal was replayed on a large screen. Everyone, it seemed, was wearing red -- hats, shirts, face paint -- and toting flags of various sizes. One group unfurled overhead a flag large enough that it fit two dozen revelers underneath.


How about the U.S. fans?

A few Americans walking dejectedly across downtown got hugs from Canadians. Three guys draped in American flags and U.S. hockey jerseys sat dejectedly at a public square.

"It was heartbreaking for sure to score with 30 seconds left in the game and then to lose it," said 26-year-old John Bullard of Bellingham, Wash. "But Canada's been very nice. So it's fun. ... We gave them a run for their money."


Only about 19,000 people were fortunate enough to be inside the arena. One man said he and his three buddies each paid about $1,500 for their seats.

"You gotta do it," said the man, who wouldn't give his name. "Any true Canadian would do it."

Another was turned away at the gate because he bought counterfeit tickets. He went through the streets yelling as loud as he could, "Make sure you don't buy fake tickets," an expletive underlining his disgust.

There were all sorts of game-watching parties, of course, but also some game-listening groups. Several dozen people gathered at the popular Robson Square to hear it played over loudspeakers. Another dozen clustered around a woman with a transistor radio at a hot dog stand near the Waterfront train station.


Canadians had been looking forward to this game from the day they won the bid to host the Olympics. Getting a rematch against the Americans after losing to them a week before only heightened the excitement.

About four hours before the game, Brendan Fisher and Ronan Mackey couldn't stand to wait any longer. So they grabbed their sticks, two nets and went to play some pickup hockey -- right outside the arena.

"This was the only way we thought we could calm our nerves," Mackey said.

Then the cops approached, one of them saying, "We're going to have to shut this down -- unless we can play."



AP Sports Writers Larry Lage, Anne M. Peterson, Janie McCauley and Howard Fendrich contributed to this report.

Greg Beacham

MORE FROM Greg Beacham

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Canada Winter Olympics 2010