BEIJING, China -- Gold, Canada, Gold!
After settling for silver at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, with long-time rivals the United States snatching away Canada's gold medal legacy, the red and white became more determined than ever to win back their place at the top of the women's hockey world.
And that they did for what was the early morning hours of Thursday, Feb, 17 for those watching from the homeland, where 2.7 million tuned into CBC's Olympic coverage despite the middle-of-the-night timing, making it the most-watched event of Beijing 2022 for Canadians and more watched than any NHL game so far this season. It also marked the highest online viewing audience ever for CBC, with an average audience of more than 325,000 on desktop and mobile devices combined.
On America's national Olympic broadcaster, NBC, the gold-medal matchup garnered an average of 3.54 million viewers.
The members of Canada's National Women's Team are now national treasures and superstars as they arrive home to families and fanfare to celebrate their fairly dominant 3-2 win over the United States, making now the perfect time for women's hockey to gain fans, financial support and to grow at both the grassroots and professional levels. Now is the time for women's hockey to make its big comeback.
Here's what other members of Team OFFSIDE have to say following the women's hockey gold medal game at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing:
Marg Bartlett: OH CANADA! Olympic GOLD in Women’s Hockey is coming home! Congrats/Felicitations!
I believe that this spectacular Team Canada is the best-ever representing our country! And Canada has iced some very strong teams in past Olympic Games. Every player in 2022 possesses top shooting and passing skills; skates incredibly fast; and has strong offence, Defence, and transition game. Both penalty kill and powerplay were very efficient. Goalies were on the top of their games throughout the whole Beijing tournament.
This Team Canada group plays for each other and has bonded so tightly, on and off the ice. The players love one another, have fun and play with joy every time they step on the ice. Chemistry & camaraderie! This is the best balanced and coached Canadian team ever. A team of superstars!
Led by Captain Clutch, a.k.a. Marie-Philip Poulin, a leader who has scored in three gold medal hockey games in three different Olympics. And she scored a goal in a silver medal game in a four Olympics. I LOVE her joie de vivre and passion! Phenomenal. The GOAT.
Mark Staffieri: Twenty years following Canada's first gold medal in women's ice hockey at the Olympics, the same level of emotion was evident in Beijing. Rebounding from a heartbreaking shootout loss that resulted in a sullen silver medal in 2018, an exciting group of record-breaking heroines emerged.
From MVP Brianne Jenner setting a new standard in goals scored, to Sarah Nurse becoming the first black woman to win Olympic hockey gold, to a pair from La Belle Province being just as impactful on the ice.
Scoring in four straight gold medal games, Marie-Philip Poulin reached iconic status, while Ann-Renee Desbiens beat the U.S. twice, including facing 51 shots in the preliminary round. This continues the proud legacy of the likes of Manon Rheaume, Kim St. Pierre and Charline Labonte. With nine players making their Olympic debut, several that were released from centralization four years prior, it adds to the theme of redemption. Building on the momentum from the 2021 IIHF Women's World Championship in Calgary, Canada's hockey gold in 2022 holds another facet of national pride.
As Canada's National Women's Soccer Team captured the gold medal one year ago at the Tokyo Summer Games, these wondrous women represent a golden generation.
Taylor Dewling: Talk about a nail-biter! Although Canada had the lead through the whole game, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time, scared to watch but also not wanting to look away!
The rivalry between these two teams has been happening for years (my earliest memory of this rivalry is watching the 2002 Olympics when I was seven years old), and this game was no exception.
Both teams came to play and battled right until the very end. The depth of Canada’s team really showed during the game, with each player getting time on the ice. However, Canada seemed to be getting caught chasing the puck instead of controlling it. This resulted in some turnovers, one of which led to a goal and some other extremely close chances for the U.S. to score.
These two teams did not disappoint in the action and anticipation of who would skate away with the gold medal! It’s incredible to see how far the women’s game has come and to think about where it will go!