I had planned to post at the start of the 2008 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Pardubice, (Par-doo-beach-eh, so much fun to say) the Czech Republic. But I was too nervous about the team's performance and I wasn't the only one.
It wasn't an easy battle, up through the quarter, semifinals and finals but we pulled it off again. The team was composed of speed, enthusiasm and the will to push through no matter what anyone said.
I was really disappointed when people, including Canadians, started to rag on the team, saying they weren't very good and that they weren't going to do anything in the tournament. I have to admit though, this disappointment also extended to myself after a disheartening loss to Sweden when our team completely fell apart in the third period. But this loss only strengthened my support for them after their wins against Finland and the USA.
I unfortunately was at work for the entire game today and was only able to watch it after hearing the outcome. But it was still plenty exciting. And the end was my favourite part. The playing of the anthem, with the arena filled to the brim with Canadians singing, gets me every time. Then the players pulled out this gigantic flag one of the player's families brought over from Regina. They also touted the cup around the arena and let fans from all four corners of the ice reach out and touch one of the symbols of hockey. In fact, they didn't seem to want to leave the ice.
It was a roller coaster of a tournament and hard fought and won. Canada now has four gold medals in a row to their name. Next year should be interesting. It's being held in Canada and we're going to be in the 'Drive for Five'. The fans are going to be nuts but I'm concerned what kind of pressure driving for five medals is going to have on the future team. But I won't worry about that until next year. Right now I'm just going to fall asleep smiling.