When Vancouver was awarded the 2010 winter Olympics, the most important event to snag tickets to was the men’s hockey gold medal game. Everyone in Canada wanted that ticket: hockey gold was the only thing that mattered. Canada had recently won its first men’s Olympic gold in 2002 in fifty years but to win on home soil would be a great accomplishment. During planning my Vancouver Olympic adventure, the hockey gold medal game was on my mind. I set up three accounts for me, mom and dad. I submitted my main request on my account and the two gold medal games for the men and women on my parent’s account. I was hoping to hit one.
Getting Tickets for Hockey Gold
Ticket demand was so high for the Vancouver Olympics, a lottery was held for 120 of 170 events.
There was 140,000 requests alone for the men’s hockey gold medal game out of a possible of 4000 tickets in an arena that had about 13,000 tickets available. The rest went to the media or sponsors.
During the initial ticket request, you submitted your request plus an alternate for that day/time. I submitted about $7500 in my original ticket request. I ended up with only 10% of my original request. I did not know how many other opportunities there would be to buy tickets. For my most recent trip to the Sochi Olympics, I posted my tips for planning an Olympic spectator trip and how to get tickets.
During my original request, I was lucky enough that my mom won the lottery and received a ticket for the men’s hockey gold medal game.
During the next year, I was able to get tickets to the women’s hockey gold medal game to go with the men’s game. Leading up the Olympics, I was unsure if I would sell the ticket or gamble and hope Canada would make the final. I could probably have sold it for $5000 or more but I decided to hang in and wait. I could always sell during the games if Canada faltered.
Canada had a slow start at the Olympics, worrying the whole country. The media were particularly wrapped up in the “Canada has never won a gold medal on home soil” narrative while the rest of the country was not; we wanted medals but didn’t care that gold had never happened in 1988 Calgary nor 1976 Montreal. We knew it would happen. In the end, Canada would finish first on the medal count: gold medal count is the one that matters according to the IOC and most countries (except the US of course); Canada broke the record of total gold medals with 14 (Russia failed to break that number in Sochi).
I arrived in Vancouver during the second week. After attending a few events, I had grabbed a last-minute ticket to the men’s quarterfinal hockey game. Canada had a rough round-robin and had to beat a qualifier to make that game but I was pretty sure they’d take out the pesky Germans, which they did. They would face the Russians in the quarters, a match that should have been the final. The Russians are our hockey nemesis; sorry America, you are not. I wanted to beat Russia for gold!
Canada came out like a team on a mission against the Russians. It was complete domination; surprising considering the Russian lineup but Canada had just as much firepower and came out on top 7-3.
Canada played Slovakia in the semi-final. I did not get a ticket to that game (I had one for the other semi-final but sold it). I figured Canada would domination Slovakia easily and I’d be waiting for them in the gold medal game. Yeah that game was too close for comfort and Canada squeaked out a 3-2 victory. I made it back to my hotel to watch the end of the game as I was watching Canada choke in the women’s curling gold medal game.
My patience had FINALLY paid off: I would be attending the gold medal hockey game as Canada went for gold against the USA. USA had ridden their hot goalie Ryan Miller into the gold medal game, shocking pretty much everyone who didn’t think they stood a chance. Hot goaltending can shake up predictions!
Canada vs USA – Hockey Gold
I had the men’s hockey gold ticket for over a year. I resisted the urge to sell. I had planned to attend the game all along; I knew Canada had to make it. It was the only option. Of course, I would have sold the ticket in a heartbeat if Canada had succumb earlier but my persistence paid off. I had the hottest ticket in the land and soon, I would watch one of the most exciting hockey gold medal games , ever! It would be one of the most important hockey victories in Canadian history: I still place it behind Paul Henderson’s sweet goal against the Soviets in 1972 Summit Series but winning hockey gold on home soil is a pretty damn close second. I wasn’t even alive during the Summit Series and I still place that as number one!
I was in the lower bowl, behind the American net and near the suites. Mmm hey is that Vince Vaughn? Get your tissues ready Vince, you will need them soon!! I was sitting beside an American couple who were great. We had a great time watching the game together. They owned some football team (NFL) and I can’t remember which one. But great people though….
It was a tight game: Canada scored first and then second. It was a nice 2-0 lead midway through the second. But the US got on the board before the second period was over. The third period was nerve-wracking and of course, the Americans tied up the game with seconds to go. Overtime was needed and hopefully it would result in a victory. NO ONE wanted this to go to a shootout; North America hates international hockey rules like this. Let them play it out.
Canada has bad memories of shootouts: see 1994 gold medal game and 1998 semi-final. International hockey allows for a shootout after so many minutes of overtime. In North America, there is no way we’d allow a Stanley Cup final (or any game in the playoffs) determined by a shootout. Hopefully it would not come to that in Vancouver.
Of course it did not. From the drop of the puck in overtime, Canada turned it up and dominated. I had NO DOUBT they would score, and score they did seven minutes into overtime. Jarome Iginla passed to the best hockey player in the world, SIDNEY CROSBY and he put it home.
I cannot describe the utter joy of that moment: Canada winning on home soil. Hockey gold and I had held onto that ticket for over a year. I had planned this trip for seven years with this moment in mind the whole time and Canada was victorious!!
Over two-thirds of the country was watching and I was there in person. The country completely freaked out and I love it. There was a time that Canada was not an Olympic favourite in any sport: we didn’t hit double digits in the 1980s nor win very many gold medals. Each Olympics saw an improvement in medal totals: 0 gold in Calgary; 2 in Albertville; 6 in Nagano; 7 in Turin; 14 in Vancouver. Total medals keep rising each year: from 5 in Calgary to 26 in Vancouver.
I think we like hockey: check out Canada’s reactions to hockey gold!!
Hockey is our favourite sport and winning on home soil meant the world to every single Canadian. Of course, winning on Russian soil was pretty great as well. Too bad the Russians didn’t show up in Sochi. 🙂