There is not much I can say about this game that has not been said in better words. One team was expected to be here and the other is the shock of the tournament. While one was dismantling their co-favourites the other was getting the job done on the back of incredible goaltending, a well-organised defence, and opportunistic forwards. Much like 2002 in Salt Lake City an American team that was not given the respect it deserved is standing between Canada and what we believe is our birthright: hockey gold.
The women, on Thursday, provided the men an incredible example with their outstanding victory over the American women. If the men play with the same commitment, desire, and tenacity they will be on their way to kicking off national celebrations. In case any need any extra motivation some great sportsmen (and woman) offer their thoughts:
Some people believe [hockey] is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.
- Bill Shankly
Dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price.
- Vince Lombardi
If you are first you are first. If you are second, you are nothing.
- Bill Shankly
The person that said winning isn't everything, never won anything.
- Mia Hamm
And from the great man himself that highlights the way in which the Canadians have united to put aside their egos for the cause:
Sure I am this day we are masters of our fate, that the task which has been set before us is not above our strength; that its pangs and toils are not beyond our endurance. As long as we have faith in our own cause and an unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied us.
- Winston Churchill
The late Flyers coach Fred Shero certainly was ahead of his time with regards to the national feelings about this game:
"As far as this game is concerned I believe it is going to be the highlight of my life. If we win I'm going to be sky high. If we lose then I think it'll be worse than dying. I'm ready, my team is ready, and I believe that we are going to win."
On a team with only a handful of players left from 2002 there is a great chance for any number of new players to learn what these words mean:
Win today and we walk together forever.
- Fred Shero
GO CANADA GO!