Before the 2010 Vancouver Olympics there was a quote in The New York Times from an expert in something or other saying, “If Canada were to lose in hockey at these Olympics it will be devastating for their national psyche.” It was a very condescending thing to say, but it was also true.
Every commercial on television in Canada right now is just a short film where Canadians congratulate themselves for taking their kids to hockey practice so early in the morning. It’s been like that since I’ve been alive. It’s not even limited to companies such as Canadian Tire; even Coca-Cola and McDonald’s have traditionally gotten in on the action.
If we lose, we’re not going to be able to handle it. Our workforce will be thrown into a deep depression and it will bring down our GDP with disastrous economic effects rippling throughout the world. Our young people will lose interest in the sport and with no role models we’ll produce an entire generation of Justin Bieber’s dad.
2. Our team is cooler than everyone else’s.
In the last Olympics, defenseman Shea Weber put a puck through the other team’s net—not only past the crease, but through the netting to the other side. The officiators didn’t even register the goal until after the slow-motion review because they couldn’t believe it. He has the second-fastest slap shot in the NHL and easily the most powerful. He regularly injures teammates that get in the way of his shots because he’s a force of pure Canadian awesomeness that can’t always be contained. He can also apparently grow a full beard in about thirty seconds.
Also in 2010, our goalie Roberto Luongo had his entire family stay with him at his house during the Games. We’re talking about the highest level of competition to which a professional athlete can ascend. The man was nothing but nerves and he was still said “No mom that’s ok you and dad take the master bedroom.” Think about how annoying having your parents stay with you, then imagine winning a gold medal while they’re doing that.
Sidney Crosby, aside from arguably being the world’s best hockey player, has a mutant healing factor. After two concussions and a shattered jaw in the past four years he hasn’t slowed down a bit. Every time he sustains one of these critical injuries he just goes into healing mode, then drinks protein shakes and mashed up chicken breasts and comes back stronger than ever. I almost think we should keep hurting him so he keeps getting more powerful.
And that’s only the first three guys I can think of. Team Canada is great because it’s basically “The Expendables” for sports.
3. If Canada wins gold, Russia will be SO mad.
If Russia is going to be punished for all their recent dickishness, then Canada has to win. The Russian-Canadian hockey rivalry goes all the way back to the Cold War. While everyone in the world was still freaked-out about Soviet nuclear weapons, spies, and the Iron Curtain, the Soviet Union and Canada just decided to play each other in hockey to see what that would be like.
Canada was the favorite to win, but the series was slated for right before the regular season started. The problem was that in the 70s, the off-season meant chain-smoking, drinking beer, and eating cheeseburgers all summer. Unlike Team Canada, The Soviets had been gearing up for the summit and had an incredibly disciplined regimen. They had been studying the Canadian style of play and mastering it with their own tweaks and probably drinking super serum. It was a near disaster for the Canadian team as they managed to just barely win the series.
The Russians still to this day feel that in the second-to-last game there was a dirty play that took their best player out of the competition. They’ve been waiting for their chance to settle the score for 40 years, and back-to-back Olympics in Vancouver and Sochi are the most high-profile chance they’ll probably ever get. They really want to beat us and we can’t let them. If you don’t believe me, just ask Don Cherry.
4. Ovechkin is a terrifying cybernetic killing machine.
Alexander Ovechkin is Robocop if Robocop went insane and decided to get really good at hockey.
There’s an entire website dedicated to coverage of him and his NHL team called “Russian Machine Never Breaks.” Because that’s a thing he said after being asked if he was all right. It was probably after he checked someone so hard it shattered the glass and then scored a goal while lying down on his back, sliding across the ice.
When the writing was on the wall and Ovechkin was soon to be eliminated in his last playoff game last season, he just started flying around the ice, body-checking everything he could. It was a weird manic display of misplaced force that bordered on performance art. He’s the most interesting person to watch in hockey and his talent makes him one of the most special people in the world.
I don’t want him to win, though. The entire country of Russia is obsessed with Ovechkin right now. He’s in every single commercial and his face is plastered on every billboard in Sochi. That he’s expressed homesickness in interviews the past couple of years and has yet to win a Stanley Cup are bad signs. If Ovechkin becomes a bona-fide national hero he may just stay in Russia. He already played there during last year’s NHL strike and he seemed pretty comfortable. Unless he’s publicly shamed and run out of town by the Russian fans, there’s a good chance we won’t get to see him do his thing in North America anymore.
5. The US gets Michael Phelps and football.
Come on. This is the deal, the US gets the Summer Olympics and the NFL and Canada gets the joke football league and the Winter Olympics. The rest of the world gets soccer.
6. We might be the drunkest people there.
It’s no small feat to get the world to notice your countrymen’s drinking when they’re surrounded by Russians.
7. WE ARE WINTER
I showed this to an American friend and she just said, “I didn’t know Canada was so metal.”