"The Men's Hockey Gold Medal is the most important medal for Canadians"
I've heard that one a few times the last few weeks. For this Canadian, the most important Olympic Hockey medal is the Women's Hockey medal.
I just can't get that worked up about millionaire players, most of whom don't even play or live in Canada, that have nothing to gain and nothing to lose. There's no sacrifice involved for these NHL players that constitute our team.
Olympic Men's Hockey is a flawed premise for me now. I place much more importance on the World Juniors tournament, as it is more reflective of national effort. Then it is our kids, from our system playing. The sacrifice and effort the juniors make is much more palpable. It is more meaningful too. Not all the juniors will go on to be NHL stars, but the World Junior tournament will always be a highlight. A pinnacle, a peak, an achievement that transcends their entire career. For NHL players, its debatable as to what's more important. The biggest salary from any team willing to play, the Stanley Cup or an Olympic Gold? Put it this way, will these NHL players risk a career ending injury to win the Gold Medal? I doubt it.
With the Juniors, we know those kids are playing "our game" "our way". I'm not so certain about the NHL representing our game anymore. It's dominated by American owners and American leadership trying to sell this game to disinterested Americans. The NHL is now as "Canadian" as Hollywood. Both are staffed with ex-pats playing to foreign audiences.
I still cheer, but I don't really care either as the meaning of the game has been lost to me. I'm not quite sure what it is that's being fought for anymore.
In any event, it is the least important medal of the games for me. I won't lose sleep if me miss the podium again.