For Canadians, it was a storybook ending. A perfect finish to the nearly perfect Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.

February 28, 2010. Seven minutes and forty seconds into the first overtime period Canada’s Sidney Crosby slid a give-and-go pass from Jarome Iginla past USA goaltender Ryan Miller to give Canadians their only acceptable result: Olympic hockey gold.

The goal ignited celebrations on the ice, in the Canada Hockey Place stands, all over Vancouver, and in bars and living rooms across the country. Within minutes hundreds of thousands of red, white, and gold Canadian hockey revelers clogged Vancouver’s downtown streets in the largest, most spirited post-game celebration BC has ever known. The dramatic victory gave Canada fourteen gold medals, the most ever won by any nation in a single Winter Olympics and ended a rollercoaster two-week ride on a monumental high.

After an opening game 8-0 waltz over Norway and a much tighter 3-2 shootout win over Switzerland, Canada suffered its only setback of the tournament, a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the foe they eventually met in the gold medal final—the US. Although whispers of doubt permeated nearly every corner of the Canadian universe, inwardly Team Canada used the setback as a rallying point. In hindsight, it might have been the best result Canadians could have hoped for.

With a few minor changes, including inserting Roberto Luongo as the team’s starting goaltender, Team Canada was a team reborn. Finishing second in Group A, Canada met Germany in the qualification playoffs. An 8-2 drubbing of the Germans proved the team had rebounded and felt no ill effects.

A much tougher quarterfinal test awaited in Russia, like Canada a pre-tournament favourite. Experts predicted a tight, exciting affair in a classic match-up between bitter rivals that any other Olympics could have passed for the gold medal final. The experts foresaw everything except the most explosive Canadian start in recent memory as Team Canada built a 6-1 lead four minutes into the second period and simply overpowered the Russians in a 7-3 manhandling.

In the semi-finals versus an underrated Slovakian team, the Canadians built a 3-0 lead before relying on Luongo and his iron-clad defense to hang on for a 3-2 victory.

The gold medal final featured more build-up than any hockey game in this country’s history—the first time Canada contested the Olympic gold medal in its national winter sport on home soil against its mortal rival to the south no less. Canadian goals by Jonathon Toews and Corey Perry were answered by American tallies from Ryan Kesler and Zach Parise. Then overtime and Crosby’s unforgettable moment of magic, the memory of which will live on as long as hockey is played.

Five British Columbian players made sizable contributions to the Canadian gold medal effort. Montreal’s Luongo, who has played in Vancouver for the Canucks since 2006, started Canada’s final four games in goal, compiling a 5-0 record, one shutout, and 1.76 goals against average. Canada’s stingy defense that allowed only fourteen goals in seven tournament games was led by four BC defenders: Cranbrook’s Scott Niedermayer, the Canadian team captain, Penticton’s Duncan Keith, Sicamous’ Shea Weber, and Tsawwassen’s Brent Seabrook, a BC Winter Games athletes in 2000.

Team Members:
Duncan Keith, Roberto Luongo, Scott Niedermayer, Brent Seabrook, Shea Weber.

Written and researched by Jason Beck, Curator of the BC Sports Hall of Fame.