Thursday, March 4, 2010
hoceky hockey hockey! eh! eh! eh!
Having played hockey since i can walk, it's one of the sports i associate the most with the olympics. So i try to get into as many games as possible. Our athlete pass doesn't get us into the indoor venues unfortunately, we still need a ticket. Each country's olympic committee is given x number of tickets for each sport. These are then dished out, in our case, by the athelete services people who are olympic legends marnie mcbean, sylvie frechete and jonathen guilmette. all multiple olympic medalists. They take care of the athletess in our village, make sure we're happy, give advice and also give out tickets. So you ask for tickets in advance and one of these 3 will let you know if you have them or not. Usually hockey games are in big demand, so the usual answer is no. BUT, if you hang out long enough in the athlete lounge chances are someone won't come pick up a ticket and you happen to be right close by, you can grab the ticket.
So between a family ticket, asking for a ticket and hanging around the lounge picking up scraps i got to see all the canada games from the 1/8 finals all the way to the finals and got into the bronze medal game too. The athlete seats are WAY up there, but you're in the rink so who cares. Sometimes, like the bronze medal game, a box ticket rolls through from people who want athletes around. In the case of the gold medal game, i got my ticket (nosebleed) 20 minutes before the puck dropped and it was a coin toss to see who got the ticket! (2 minutes later the other person got one too). I've seen a fair few hockey games in my life, and to say that the canada-russia and canada-usa games were crazy would be an understatement. It was insane, and my voice is still hoarse 5 days later! Soo stoked i got to see those games.
We all know how those games ended and it was amazing to be in the rink.
The hockey players did hang out in the olympic village. You could plop down next to them for breakfast or play some ping pong with them (sid's backhand is not limited to hockey!). I went on a bit of a mission these olympics to meet as many canadian athletes as i could. Makes cheering that much more fun and i like meeting new people. I met sidney crosby, shea weber and marc andre fleury pretty early on as they were in the lounge the most. I was pretty stoked that sid and shea watched the pipe event in the lounge and the following day told me I "was freakin nuts". I provided Fleury and some of the other hockey guys with a laugh as i asked for martin brodeur's name. Obviously i know who he is, but not having cable at my house, i'll say it's tough for me to recognize him without his jersey on! (and a lot of the other guys for that matter). Another day, brad martin and i were the only people in the lounge and playing nhl10 on an Xbox. Fleury came in and watched us play. As we were playing canada vs. canada, i jokingly said we should put marc in net. Well, brad did for the shootout, and i ended up finally scoring in a 12 shot marathon. he turned around to marc " how could you let that in!!?" 'sorry' was marc's sheepish answer through all the laughing. i can't say i've ever played an nhl video game and had the player right there in the room.
Canadians like to put hockey players up high on a pedastal but they're normal people, just really good at hockey. So it was really cool to hang out with them and get to know them (and everyone else in the village!).and yes i realise i just posted stories about nhl players, but that's what people have asked me the most. "do the players actually stay in the village?" "have you seen sid?" yes to both, and they even celebrated their gold medals and the end of the games in the village with everyone else.
sidney and shea. sidney's the short guy in case your wondering
rob fan, mercedes nicoll, sarah conrad, brad martin, and palmer taylor at the russia canada game. Rob's first nhl/world level hockey game!
i'd hate to play canada in this rink! nothing but red shirts and screaming fans
mercedes and i at the gold medal game
it always amazes me that there's still fans for countries half way around the world. Suomi (finland) fans for the bronze medal game against slovakia. and still alot of canada jersey's!
brad martin would be the least official looking person in this box. finland-slovakia bronze medal game
our 2 assistant chef de mission. legend's steve podborski and joe juneau. (skiing and hockey)
scott neidermeyer and i waiting for the closing ceremonies. yup again, he's the shorter guy. if i had another 30-40 pounds on me maybe i would have stayed in hockey!