I was in a beer garden in Vancouver’s Yaletown when a guy draped in an American flag strutted in. He was carrying on like Superman, all layered up in red, white and blue and making lots of noise. Boy, did he rile up the Canadians. After all today is the Canada versus USA men’s hockey match and as friendly as we are with our neighbors to the north, this is war. The crowd started hooting and hollering and singing “Oh Canada.” I was talking to my new friend, Scott, and he explained it to me. Every little kid in Canada, no matter what their circumstances, believes that they can grow up to be a hockey icon like Wayne Gretzky. If you think there is pressure on Canadians to win gold at these Olympics, consider the hockey team. Hockey is right up there with mom and Canadians are getting revved up already for the big showdown. Anything short of a gold medal will be a crushing defeat in this country.
On Thursday night when I was coming back to my hotel I noticed it was particularly celebratory. I assumed Canada had won some coveted gold medal. But no! What really happened was the Canadian hockey team barely escaped the incredible humiliation of being beaten by Switzerland at home. They could not have recovered from such a disgrace and even if they won the gold medal, Scott told me, they would be reminded that they lost to the Swiss. Canadians still have not forgiven their hockey team for coming in 7th at the 2006 Olympics in Torino. It is hard for me to imagine what a scene it will be here in Vancouver tonight when one of the most anticipated matches of the games is played. The 2010 Olymic winter games is being hailed as the greatest hockey tournament ever and already rowdy fans are banging a drum outside my hotel in anticipation of the battle that looms. It’s hockey night in Canada.
For more information on Vicky Collins visit http://teletrendstv.com.