Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday. Heading back to the Olympic city. Flight on time from Calgary and lots of fans on the plane all wearing their Canadian gear. First thing that struck me when arriving at the airport was how much busier it was than when we arrived on the first weekend. The waiting areas were packed with people ready to go home from a busy week of cheering. One can only imagine what it will be like in a week’s time when the world goes home.

Headed to the Coca Cola pin trading booth at the airport to get the “pin of the day” while waiting for my bag to arrive. Picked up Days 1 through 10 but could not find Day 6. Looks like eBay will have to bale me out.

Once again, the drive to our place just past Horseshoe Bay was easy. Too bad that Vancouver traffic isn’t always like this. Dropped off the bags, put on our Team Canada jerseys and then it was back to town to one of our favourite eating places – Savary Island Pie Company in West Vancouver. This place makes the best carrot cake and pies we have ever tasted. They are so good. Lavonne Zdunich’s carrot cake comes very close and we have an idea or two that could move her to the gold medal podium! 

After a wonderful lunch, we headed downtown and into the action. Once again, a big difference from last weekend. I would have to say the crowds are now at least five times larger. There are people everywhere. It really is festive and fantastic to be here. We headed over to Canada Hockey Place to get ready for the much anticipated Canada-USA hockey game. On the way there, we ran into Brent Tilford (one of our highly esteemed corporate accountants!). He had just been to the Russia-Czech hockey game and was getting ready to go back for the Canada-USA game. Turns out we were sitting in the same section.

Before going to the game, we waited in line at the ticket office to try and get Catherine’s daughter a ticket to the Canada-USA game. We cycled through the line several times before giving up. She ended up getting a ticket from a ticket broker – price undisclosed! 

On arriving at Canada Hockey Place, we raced through the security checks only to crash into a wall of people. Everybody is funneled into the stadium through a single entry point! It was a mass of humanity converging onto a set of stairs and a walkway. The photos give you a good sense for the sea of people. In Calgary, we call this the C of Red at Flames hockey games. Looks to me that the C of Red is alive and well in Vancouver too!

Our seats were excellent - first row of the balcony. The place was loud and roaring to go. The media literally took up one full side of the ice rink. Now I know why the only Olympic hockey tickets I could find were behind the goals or up high.

The festive mood soon quieted when the US scored first. It was a tense, exciting game with Canada coming back twice to make the score even. In the end, the US prevailed to win 5-3, with an empty-netter. Having been outshot 45-23, Ryan Miller, the US goalie stood on his head and was the difference-maker. Well done, USA – is this the start of Miracle on Ice Deux? Canada now plays Germany, with the Russians waiting in the wings.

The US fans were very excited and good-spirited throughout the game with the exception of the six annoying US fans behind us that were spilling beer all over the place, constantly yelling U-S-A in our ears for an hour and a half and tapping me on the shoulder whenever Canada ended up in the penalty box! 

Following the game, the crowds were, as expected, a lot quieter than before the game. Still thousands of people everywhere. After a quick Japanese meal, we called it a day and headed home. Once again, a great day in Vancouver despite the disappointing hockey game. Did I mention it was about 15 degrees with sunshine and not a single cloud in the sky?

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