VANCOUVER, B.C - Ten years ago this month, Hockey Canada and USA Hockey met in the gold medal game at the 2010 Olympics. A pair of first period goals from a then 18-year-old, Marie-Philip Poulin helped Canada win gold on home soil with a 2-0 victory.
Canada’s women’s national hockey team hasn’t played a game in Vancouver in the decade that has passed. That will change tonight when Canada looks to tie the 2020 edition of the Rivalry Series at two games a piece.
Propelled by a thrilling 3-2 overtime win on Monday night in Victoria, Canada will be hoping to find some leftover 2010 Olympic magic at Rogers Arena.
”I remember coming here and 2010 was my first Olympics experience,” Poulin explained to The Ice Garden earlier this week. “It was really special. I remember during that gold medal game having that home crowd and my family here. To really come out with that win, was super exciting. Great memories.”
Canada’s current roster features two other teammates that played with Poulin at the 2010 Olympics.
Rebecca Johnston and Meaghan Mikkelson were both a part of Canada’s success.
The 35-year-old defender was just starting out her journey with Canada’s senior team. As Mikkelson looks back on what Canada was able to accomplish, it’s all happy memories.
”That was ten years ago,” Mikkelson said. “I was just a kid back then. That was my first Olympics. I just remember the fans and the crowd and just the amount of support that we had. Anywhere we play in Canada, we’ve got that. Playing an Olympics in your home country was an experience like no-other. Just looking up in the stands, it was a sea of red and white. That’s what I remember most.”
At the other end of the rink USA Hockey wasn’t able to overcome that first period deficit. Being able to play in an Olympics in North America was a highlight for some U.S. players. Having the ability to spend time with family and friends meant the world.
”It was very unique,” Kacey Bellamy recalled. “It was my first Olympics so I was eyes wide open. I just remember the city being so beautiful, and being able to see our families. Obviously it wasn’t the outcome that we wanted, but for it to be in Canada and a sold out crowd. It was an unbelievable Olympics for the hockey world, both the (Canadian) men and women went away with the gold medal. It was just special, and it’s special being back here.”
USA Hockey was able to break through and win gold at the 2018 Olympics. A 3-2 shootout win over Canada helped end a twenty-year gold medal drought. Despite making history. and putting an end to Canada’s streak, that wasn’t where Bellamy had the most fun at the Olympics.
”Winning a gold medal in PyeongChang was obviously a dream come true,” Bellamy explained. “I look back and I say... the most fun and taking it in, I think happened in Vancouver. The memories that we built there, being the first Olympics that I was there. I just think that the way it was setup and the whole Olympic village. It was just a really fun Olympics. I would probably say in a lot of my interviews it was my favourite Olympics.”
Thank you x1000 to the 🐐, @CammiGranato, for hosting us for dinner tonight!— USA Hockey (@usahockey) February 5, 2020
Fueled up and ready to go for Game 4 tomorrow at Rogers Arena! 10 p.m. ET puck drop on NHL Network. #RivalrySeries Notebook → https://t.co/h8IqAojV2X pic.twitter.com/SMy7DO8ElQ
The 2010 Olympics were also the first Olympic experience for a then 20-year-old forward who would go on to score 200 points and star with the U.S. national team for the next decade.
What does Hilary Knight remember?
“I remember losing.” Knight said bluntly. “A handful of us have that still in our hearts and you never forget an Olympic loss. To be back in Vancouver in front of those fans, there’s a lot on our mind.”
Knight, and Bellamy are joined on the U.S. rivalry series roster by Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando who were also part of the 2010 Olympics.
”The last time I was at this rink was the gold medal game ten years ago,” Monique Lamoureux-Morando said following practice in Vancouver. “Not the best of memories. It was our first Olympic experience and Vancouver holds a special place in our hearts especially for my sister and I in accomplishing our dream of becoming Olympians. It’s always special to be back here. We always know that Canada puts on a good crowd, and a good game. We’re excited for the game, and the atmosphere it’ll bring.”
Whenever Hockey Canada and USA Hockey hit the ice, it’s always must watch hockey. It’s a shame that it’s taken a decade for these two rivals to return to Vancouver.
Ten years ago, both teams captured the hockey landscape. While faces may have changed, both teams bring out the best in each other. Tonight should be another barn burner.