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February 22, 2010

Olympic Hockey - Day 4 (Sweden-Finland) & Week in Review

Day 4 of our Olympic hockey odyssey dawned very bright and sunny on a peaceful Sunday morning. This day was going to be a quiet one for us. We weren't going to be gallivanting all over the city, and thus there were no pictures to take (sorry for those who are interested, but I'll try to keep post Vancouver photos to the blog periodically). Sunday was "Super Sunday" in the Olympic Hockey world, with three huge games to end the Preliminaries and determine who has to do a Qualifying game and who gets to automatically go to the Quarterfinals.

We decided we would eat dinner at home and watch the first two games before heading out to the Sweden-Finland game at our customary 9:00pm. It was a fun day to just rest, relax, and watch some good hockey on the television. The Russia-Czech Republic game wasn't that interesting, but the main event that everybody had been waiting for was the Canada-USA game at 4:30. We had our eyes glued to the TV just like most of the country (and unlike most of the US, where I understand NBC didn't show it live).

It was a great game to watch, with US goalie Ryan Miller standing on his head as Canada came at him in wave after wave, but the combination of sloppy play and bad goaltending resulted in a 5-3 US win. This means Canada plays Germany tomorrow to qualify and then will play Russia in the Quarterfinals if they win. You could hear the collective groan and the sound of deflation from the entire country after that happened.

We didn't have time to mourn, though (I have to admit that I was rooting for Canada, though I wasn't heartbroken like most people here were), as it was time to go! We had a nice, semi-crowded walk down to Canada Hockey Place. The atmosphere was still festive, but a bit subdued as well. More on that later.

Hard to believe we've been to GM Place Canada Hockey Place four times in a week now, and we actually made it to each game!  In fact, we've been there so much that I became Mayor of Canada Hockey Place last night on Foursquare!  In fact, depending on whether any other Foursquare users are going to more games this week, I may be the permanent mayor there, because Canada Hockey Place will no longer exist after the Olympics are over.  It will go back to being GM Place.

But I digress.  Getting into the game was pretty easy, though we hit a security line-up where the bag scanner was broken, so they were searching all bags by hand.  They told us that the wait-time would be double what they were in other lines.  Looking around, we decided that the other lines were about double the length of the one we were in, so we stayed where we were.  It's either wait in this line-up or wait on the other side for the gates to open.

Once we got in, getting to our seats was a piece of cake, and there was nobody in the row yet, so we didn't have to step over anybody.  We were once again right in the middle of a section, which also means we never had to get up for anybody.  But you know what the best thing was? (Those of you who follow me on Twitter already know).

Old people!  Yes, we had old people behind us, Finnish fans, I think.  There would be no repeat of Saturday night's drunkfest.  We would have a nice, peaceful game.  Yes, there is always crowd noise, and that's fine.  But no obnoxious people making our fan experience a living hell.  It was definitely a great night to watch a hockey game.

Which is why it's sad that the game wasn't that good.  This was the one we were most waiting for all week, the rematch between the two teams that were in the Gold Medal game in Turin in 2006.  Unfortunately, Finland just kind of rolled over and died.  They were outshot 32-20, and only managed 5 shots in the third period, when they were trying to come back from a 3-0 deficit!  That's pretty shameful.  Sweden dominated the entire night.  It was pretty cool to see the Sedin twins play for Sweden though.

The walk home was pretty quiet too.  I don't know if it's because it was Sunday night or if the city's just getting a bit partied out, but the crowds were much more subdued last night.  Robson was busy, but not packed, and the same with Granville Street.  We didn't have huge crowds to try and fight our way through on the way home, and there was no huge line at the Skytrain station around Dunsmuir and Granville (of course, the Skytrain station at the stadium was packed, but that's to be expected).  I really hope it was just that it was Sunday and a bit of deflation from the Canada hockey loss, and that this won't be the norm this coming week.  I would like to think Vancouver can stage a 2-week party.

So that was our Olympic Hockey experience.  Four days of crowds, exciting (and some not-so-exciting) hockey, lots of walking exercise, and playing a little bit of tourist in our own city.  Did I mention the crowds?  Lots of revelry, Canadian flags (as well as most other flags, though in smaller numbers), booze, drunkeness, and did I mention the crowds? 

All in all, it was quite the experience, but it really wore us out.  We're not "crowd" people at the best of times, so this was a bit stressful.  But it was definitely fun, and it was worth doing once because we knew we would never have this opportunity again.  The weather's been truly beautiful, though the rain is supposed to come back tomorrow and continue for most of the week.  At least it's not snow!  (I say that for my Davenport people).

I'm proud of us for doing these four days.  These late games were definitely tiring for me the next day, but I'm glad we did it.

But I'm ready to experience the rest of the Olympics at home.


  1. David, I've reallly enjoyed reading all these entries even if I don't comment much, especially the pictures. But I just have to "old" were the old people in your section. :-)

  2. Now I know how to entice a comment out of you! :P

    They were in their 70s, I think. Traveled all the way from Finland, I'm pretty sure.

    My definition of "old" is always going to be "30 years older than I am), so it will be a sliding scale. :) Thus, you'll never be old to me!

    Glad you're enjoying them! I wasn't going to do all the picture stuff until I found out that people were enjoying them, so it gave me good incentive to do it.

  3. Okay son now you are calling your parents old. LOL I was going to ask you the same question that Deb asked. (I just looked back to see who wrote that & saw who it was. You still have another game to go to Tuesday don't you? Sounds like it was a neat & exciting week.

  4. We sold tonight's tickets. Just too worn out from last week. And it was the Czech Republic against Latvia, and we've already seen Latvia (they're not very good) so it wouldn't be that interesting of a game anyway.

    "No comment" on the rest of that. :)


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