Monday September 01, 2014

EDITORIAL - Golden moments resonate across country


When you sit down to write an editorial in a community newspaper your first responsibility is to find a topic which is important locally, one which will resonate with readers because it means something to our city.

Such topics usually mean writing about something here in the city, or perhaps a government decision in Regina or Ottawa which has an impact here.

But this week we look to something which happened half a world away.

The Winter Olympics have people in many countries paying attention to events taking place in Sochi, Russia the last two weeks.

While it is likely people in the Netherlands basked in the glow of more than 20 medals by their country’s athletes in speed skating, and in Norway they no doubt cheered the successes of their nordic skiers.

But it is difficult to envision a country anymore drawn to the Olympics as a collective than Canadians when it came to hockey.

It is not always easy to define what it means to be Canadian, or even what Canadian culture is. We are after all still a relatively young country in terms of a collective history, and much of what we are and what we hold as important is drawn in bits and pieces from the combined cultures of immigrants from across the globe.

Ask most Canadians what makes us Canadian and they struggle with the answer and often offer decidedly different views.

But most of us will agree hockey is our sport.

History may not bare out that the game was created in our country, but certainly we as a nation took to the sport like no other. Six months of snow and cold make it ideal as a national pass time, and we have embraced it through the decades.

Every community had a hockey rink through the years.

A local player making the National Hockey League becomes an immediate hero.

That is why communities from Kelvington to Foam Lake to Churchbridge and Langenburg celebrate such heroes with signage, reminding all who pass through of the pride they have in their hockey sons.

So when it comes to the Olympics Canadians watch hockey closest.

We, as a nation, captured 10 gold medals in Sochi, among 25 overall, but in the end two will stick in our collective memory most keenly.

There were collective cheers in restaurants and anywhere people gathered near a television when the Canadian women’s team fought back from a 2-0 deficit to the rival United States. Time was ticking away in the third period. It was under four minutes before Canada had its first goal. You could almost feel a nation tense up.

It was the final minute before Canada tied it.

The dream was alive for all of us.

Marie-Philip Poulin tied it up with 55 seconds remaining in regulation.

And then the golden goal at 8:10 into overtime, again by Poulin. A cheer rose wherever people gathered near a television. Hockey fan or not, we all felt it, as a new hero for a nation took her place with names such as Paul Henderson.

And then two days later the men shut-out Sweden for a second hockey gold.

The game was at 6 a.m. local time, and yet local watering holes were allowed to open their doors so we could gather to watch the game.

Lights were on in house after house as we seemed to rise early as a nation to share in the event.

We cheered as Jonathan Toews scored what would prove the winner as Carey Price shut out the Swedes in the Canadian net.

It is a moment most Canadians will long hold in their memories. The feeling of collective Canadian pride, whether in Yorkton or Toronto, or Newfoundland.

A shared moment thanks to hockey, which in the end is about as Canadian as it gets.




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