Saddle Up the Zamboni, It’s Party Time!

After the Canadian women’s hockey team won Olympic gold on Feb. 25 they did what came naturally, they celebrated.

Smokin’ stogies, sippin’ bubbly and horsing around on the Zamboni machine in victory celebration had major consequences though.

The International Olympic Committee was less than pleased with the team’s antics. In an interview with the associated press, executive director of the games Gilbert Felli said, “It is not what we want to see. I don’t think it’s a good promotion of sport values. If they celebrate in the changing room, that’s one thing, but not in public…We will investigate what happened.”

I have a bone to pick with this whole ordeal. These champions were celebrating a (potentially) once in a lifetime event, winning a gold metal! Many athletes party hard after an achievement like this and the women’s hockey team being singled out and scolded is unfair. I can’t help but wonder if it were a men’s hockey team if the repercussions for their post-gold horseplay would have been as severe.

To be clear, the team did not crack champagne on the Olympic podium. They waited for over an hour for the arena to clear out a bit and then celebrated in the way they wanted. Not unlike Gold-winning skeleton racer Jon Montgomery, these athletes’ celebration was caught on camera. No one wanted to run an investigation into Montgomery’s partying agenda though.

I wonder what kind of “promotion on sport values” is being portrayed when male Stanley Cup winners guzzle champagne from the top of the trophy. It is a long-standing tradition for the winning team to drink bubbly from the top bowl.

Maybe if the group in question was a team of gymnasts or a group of figure skaters this type of celebration would be uncharacteristic of their sport. Hockey is known as a rugged, intense game and is also one associated with big whooping parties! I hardly think the Canadian team’s antics were unsportsmanlike, especially when considering the sport in question.

Thankfully, the threat of investigation has been called off, though the team did spend a large part of the following Friday apologizing for their exuberance.

An apology was hardly warranted though. These Olympic champions were celebrating a great victory in a manner that is standard for their sport. Their horseplay was in the spirit of joy and celebration and is not something they should be made to apologize for.

I say, party on ladies! Party on because you have earned it.