I was at an opera in Toronto this afternoon from 2 to 5:30. (Unfortunate timing on the season's tickets.) I was in the ladies room during the second intermission when an elderly woman burst in, shouting, "We scored!" During the intermissions the score was broadcast above the stage, and since Canada was ahead everyone (including the orchestra) cheered.
A hokey Hollywood sports movie couldn't have made this victory more important. It wasn't like the "shot heard round the world" when we beat Russia in '72. These guys all play together on the same NHL teams; there's not the usual separation between competitors. But a series of events over the last year... Jim Balsillie being denied another attempt to move a team to southern Ontario; our loss in an early game at the Olympics, ratcheting up the anxiety; Sidney Crosby salvaging our chances in overtime of another match; having a chance, with this victory, to make a new world record for one country's gold medals... then the USA tying the score 24 seconds before the end of the game! And Crosby winning again in overtime!
As I was driving home from Toronto I heard a CBC newscaster ask the question, "But did the better team win? Was Canada better than the US?" What a dope. Of course the Canadian team wasn't better: the US team had a much smoother run at the Olympics. The difference is the fans. This is our game. This is our Olympics. Losing was not an option.