USA-Canada Hockey Rivalry Heats Up In Olympic Park
United States Olympic Committee and Canadian Olympic Committee staff accompanied by several Olympic medalists pose for a photo after a street hockey game ending in a 4-4 tie between USA House and Canada House in Olympic Park on Wednesday.
It was the matchup of all matchups. The end-all, be-all of street hockey games. And on Wednesday, the rivalry between USA and Canada proved to be another tremendous showing. Only this time it was the team behind the team that was playing. The United States Olympic Committee staff and Canadian Olympic Committee staff (with some athletes sprinkled in for good measure) played to a 4-4 tie in Olympic Park, between USA House and Canada House.
“I had to visualize all night last night, just imagining how I was going to shoot and score against the Canadian goaltender,” said Stanley Cup winner and two-time men’s ice hockey Olympian Bret Hedican, who donned the red, white and blue at his third Olympic Winter Games.
“I never thought I would have the chance to make another Olympic team, particularly a good boot hockey team. So I’m excited about this opportunity,” said Hedican.
Also headlining Team USA’s 12-member roster was Matt Antoine, who recently earned the U.S. its first men’s skeleton medal in 12 years; Jason Brown, who helped Team USA to bronze in the figure skating team event last week; and Jamie Hagerman, a 2006 bronze medalist in women’s ice hockey.
Prior to the game, the teams lined up at the center of the rink to exchange gifts. Following the playing of both team’s national anthems, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman did the ceremonial dropping of the puck. Not long after, the crowd — and players — broke out into chant and cheered on their teams: “Go Can go, go Can go,” followed by “U-S-A, U-S-A.”
Back-and-forth action continued, with Team USA’s Hagerman getting on the board first.
Pulling out all the stops in goal for the U.S. was Jean-Pierre Lamoureux, father of two-time women’s ice hockey Olympians (and twins) Jocelyne Lamoureux and Monique Lamoureux. After several dazzling saves, the crowd broke out into cheer: “M-V-P, M-V-P.”
Among the fans flooding the perimeter to watch the game was Monique Lamoureux, who came to cheer on her dad.
“It’s pretty funny. Who would have thought we’d be at the Olympics watching our dad play street hockey?” said Monique Lamoureux. “It looks like they’re having a lot of fun. I think it’s tied right now, so hopefully they can pull out a win here.”
But Jean-Pierre Lamoureux wasn’t the only one who put his stamp on the game. Minnesota native and USOC Senior Director of Communications Mark Jones buried a pair of goals in the first and second periods, giving Team USA the lead heading into the third period. In the third period, Team USA’s Adam Andrasko, manager of training sites and community partnerships, also found the back of the net.
Cheering continued from the U.S. side as 1992 Olympic figure skating champion Kristi Yamaguchi rooted on husband Hedican. “One, two, three, four, get the puck, we want to score. One, two, three, four, get the puck, we want to score!”
With the clock winding down, Team Canada scored a goal with 30 seconds remaining in the third period, tying the game 4-4. The teams headed into a two-minute overtime, but the horn sounded before either team could find the back of the net once more.
Following the game, John Pierre Lamoureux was named Team USA’s star of the game. When asked how he prepared for the moment, he replied, “Street hockey with the kids at home, I guess.”
While John Pierre Lamoureux was the star of Wednesday’s street hockey game, he now turns his attention to an even bigger competition: his daughters and Team USA will take on Canada in the gold-medal ice hockey game on Thursday at Shayba Arena.
“They worked a long time to get back to this position, and we’re very hopeful for gold,” he said. “I’m sure Canada is, too, but we’re going for it.”
As a former member of the U.S. Olympic women’s ice hockey team, Hagerman has experienced her fair share of hockey games against the Canadians. But today’s game had a different tone than any other time she faced them.
“It was definitely much more lighthearted than the last time I put on this jersey against the Canadians,” she said. “These two countries have an incredible rivalry, so it’s fun to make a little light of it.”