Canada 5 USA 4 in overtime. Here is American national team player Caitlin Cahow's view of the final game. She was unable to play due to an injury.
Hats off to Team Canada for a well fought final! It seemed to me an appropriate finish for Caroline Ouellette to net the game-winner in the extra frame. She had a fantastic tournament and has always been a quiet leader with an explosive impact. If I ever have to lose, I want it to be on the stick of a class act like Caroline. I have a profound respect for her as an athlete, competitor and catalyst for the growth of women’s hockey.
Additionally, as hard as it was to not hear my anthem at the end of a championship game, I have to say I have never been more proud of my team or my sport than I was yesterday. What a tremendous event the 2012 World Championship was for women’s ice hockey! In particular, this tournament was huge for the American players regardless of the outcome.
I think maybe only those of us who have worn the jersey will understand what it must have felt like to be on that ice with a deafening U-S-A cheer erupting through a packed house. It brought tears to my eyes because the only buildings in the world where women’s hockey packs them in by the thousands are Canadian ones. My memories of wearing the red, white and blue in front of a sold out crowd are almost exclusively associated with a sea of red. A long time ago I had to make peace with the fact that even though the 16,000 were almost all cheering against me, they were really cheering for women’s hockey, and I never took that for granted.
To a US player, the sound of silence from a sold out crowd is your goal in life. Because the only time a Canadian crowd will grow quiet is when we put one in the back of the net. It’s something special, a pure moment of joy shared between 21 women in matching jerseys. With the storm swirling around us, it’s the electric silence in the eye of the hurricane, a feeling of ecstasy, power and joy. It is our passion and our constant pursuit across all provinces. But this week we got to feel the ferocity of the storm in our own sails. This week the building shook with U-S-A.
For those of us who have dedicated our lives to wearing the USA jersey proudly, there are no words to describe what that feels like. I can only hope that our sport continues to grow; that we expand and strengthen the power of female athletes to transfix and transform the world with our dedication, passion and achievement. And that one day all players, from every country, get the opportunity to share that feeling.
They may have been chanting U-S-A, but I know, as I always have, that they were really celebrating the pinnacle of our game. They were overwhelmed by and in awe of the virtuosity of 40 athletes, role models and stateswomen. Forty examples of the best our sport has to offer the world. And they are hungry for more. I could have written about strategy, individual efforts, battles lost and won. At the end of the day, with talent like that, the game is a balance sheet of mistakes made and opportunities capitalized upon. Those statistics can be found in the box score. Team Canada was one goal better, and for their efforts they are crowned world champions, and well-deserving.
As much as I hate losing, especially to the greatest rivals I have ever known, I don’t feel loss. I feel empowered to build upon this momentum. To come back with renewed vigor and focus, to push harder than ever before so that every time I step on that ice, I am making myself and the game better. We have something magical on our hands, and none of us, Canadian or American, thinks we are done.
To be continued…