Hockey-crazy Canada goes wild after gold medal

  • Article by: ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • Updated: February 23, 2014 - 11:05 PM

Country celebrated gold from Toronto to Vancouver.

– Hockey-crazed Canadians from coast to coast thought nothing of an early morning start and streamed into bars Sunday to watch and celebrate Team Canada capturing Olympic gold.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was among the die-hard crowd at the Real Sports bar in downtown Toronto, which exploded in an earsplitting roar as Canada topped Sweden 3-0 to win its second consecutive Olympic gold medal in men’s hockey.

Beer, which began flowing when the puck dropped, was tossed into the air from red hockey-boot mugs, while revelers mounted chairs and tables in joy as red-and-white streamers fluttered down on them.

Ford posed for many photos with fans in the bar. “This is what Canada’s all about. It’s hockey right? When people say how do you define Canada, I say, wait until there’s a hockey game,” he said.

Superfan Mike Berks knew what to wear for the big game: a hockey helmet mounted with a working red goal light. He thought nothing of getting up well before sunrise for the gold-medal contest.

“This is our team, this is what we live, this is what we breathe, this is what we do, 4:30 in the morning is nothing to watch this,” he said as fans decked out in red-and-white jerseys hooted and hollered around the bar. “There’s no doubt that Canada’s the No. 1 hockey team in the world. This is it, Canada’s No. 1.”

After the game, crowds spilled from the bars into the streets, with a throng of fans paralyzing a major downtown intersection in the city.

In Vancouver, snowy weather, no booze and the early start didn’t stop the outpouring of jubilation at a sports bar.

David Addison stayed up all night to make sure he’d get a spot at the Sin Bin Sports Grill and said the fact the taps were dry because of liquor laws didn’t take away from a fantastic victory.

“The energy in there is electric,” said Addison, pointing to the crowd in the bar. “We’re just going to high-five and hug a bunch of strangers and feel really, really awesome.”

Montreal fans packed into a stretch of downtown pubs to watch the gold medal matchup.

A group of women showed up in their pajamas to watch the game. “When I’m on vacation, I don’t usually get up at 6:30, so I decided to come like this,” said Nathalie Theoret.

For many the celebratory eruptions started as the clock ticked down the final seconds of the game.

The faithful jumped out of their seats and waved flags over balconies at a two-story sports bar in downtown Halifax just before the final buzzer.

Some cried as they watched the players receive their gold medals, and the fans in Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby’s hometown let out an earsplitting cheer when it was his turn to accept gold.

Bonnie Forrestall said Crosby’s breakaway goal during the second period that cemented Canada’s lead was the highlight of the game. “Sidney Crosby showed who he really is,” she said amid the crowd at the HFX Sports Bar and Grill.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper honored the hockey heroes.

“Today’s exciting victory by this exceptional group of players has demonstrated once again that hockey truly is Canada’s game,” he said.

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