“Biggest game in the history of Canadian hockey history,” says Ross Taylor. “Bigger,” even, he says, than the gold in 2002. “This is it: it’s here, it’s at home, in Vancouver—best city in Canada,” says the Ontario native. He’s just one of 18,000 thunderous, frenzied, flag festooned fans here for Super Sunday—what hockey fans surely consider the Olympics’s greatest day. They’re wearing green wigs, Joker face paint, flag dresses, mountie uniforms and moose masks. One couple has name bars imprinted with “GIVER2010” on their Team Canada jerseys. (How Canadian is that?) No one seems to have wear anything but red.
“We’ve been excited for three months,” says Windsor’s Darren Harold. He paid $140 for his ticket, and is sitting low, near the ice. The scene outside, he says, is “the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in my life”—a “Canadian sea,” adds his friend Lisa Ropac.
It’s a huge day for VANOC. The organizing committee must have chewed down their collective fingernails hoping the heated triple-header goes down as planned.
It was a beautiful line-up: each of the teams had met in previous Olympic finals—the Czechs and Russians, in 1998, Canada and the U.S. in 2002, and the Swedes and Finns in 2006. Appripriately, the games are going down in chronological order.
The Czech-Russia game wrapped up at 2:20 p.m., giving cleaning staff—who cheered themselves on—just over two hours to get everyone out, clean the bathrooms, re-stock the luxury box suites with cheese and sushi, and get another 20,000-odd rabid fans back inside the building for the Canada-U.S. game—a process they’ll repeat in two hours, for the Sweden-Finland, at 9 p.m.
Wayne’s in the house. So’s Alex Bilodeau—whose thunderous ovation, when he was introduced, shook the house, practically rivaling the one given to Team Canada.