To the shock of no one, the Canadian Press named the men’s Olympic hockey team as Canada’s Team of the Year for 2014. Undefeated during their stay in Sochi, the gold medal winners received 36 votes for their efforts.
Finishing 32 votes behind them was another undefeated team. The Canadian women’s Olympic curling team, skipped by Jennifer Jones, received just four votes for their gold medal performance.
Four. Four votes. As in, you can count the number of votes the Jones rink received on one hand … without using your thumb.
What did the men’s hockey team have to do to get those 36 votes? Well, for starters, they went undefeated in Group B play. They struck down hockey powerhouse Norway 3-1, destroyed the Austrian hockey juggernaut 6-0, and embarrassed Finland with a 2-1 dismantling.
Did they stop there? Oh no, my friend. Oh no.
In the quarterfinals, they humiliated the Latvians and their NHL-laden roster with a 2-1 smackdown. How important is Olympic hockey in Latvia? Sandis Ozolinsh threw his cane to one side, his oxygen tank to the other, marched out of the old folks retirement community he was living in, and played on the team’s blue line. When my grandfather was a young boy, he used to enjoy watching Ozolinsh play. Yes, in my mind’s ear, I can still hear my grandfather’s voice even today. Such fond memories.
But the Canadian men’s hockey team didn’t stop there. What did they do next? I’ll tell ya!
In the semi-finals, in a move that caused me to throw an absolute fit, Canada beat my star-spangled American team. And they didn’t just beat us. Oh no. They throttled us by a score of 1-0.
It was horrendous. My friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and a whole bunch of other people who spell the word defenseman with an s, and not a c, held their heads in shame for months after that debacle. We stopped caring about football, baseball and basketball altogether – focusing solely on our one-goal loss in hockey. To this day, Prozac flies off the shelves at pharmacies throughout all 50 states … all because of one game.
And then to top it all off, the Canadian men beat Team Sweden 3-0 in the gold medal game.
When you think about it, how did this team for the ages receive a mere 36 votes? Don’t the voters within the Canadian Press recognize good hockey when they see it? Wonders never cease.
All the Canadian women’s curling team did was go a spotless 9-0 in round robin play, defeat skipper Eve Muirhead and the rest of Team Great Britain 6-4 in the semifinals, and then go on to win the gold medal with a 6-3 victory over Sweden.
Curling became a medal sport in the 1998 Nagano games. Since that time, no women’s team had ever run the table in Olympic curling before the Jones rink did it in Sochi. The only other Olympic curling team to accomplish the feat was the Canadian men, skipped by Kevin Martin, in the 2010 Vancouver games.
Sarcasm aside, the Canadian men’s hockey team had much to be proud of. Defeating your opponents by a combined score of 17-3 in the Olympics is nothing to sneeze at, to say the least. But the 32-vote spread in the Team of the Year voting is an absolute insult to four women who are the very best at what they do. And they too put on quite a display on the world’s biggest stage.
Four votes? Did I read that right?
Tell me the Canadian Press made a misprint.