Dear IOC (International Overreacting Conservatives),
I am an avid hockey fan writing you this open letter simply to express my disappointment with your disappointment regarding yesterday’s Women’s Hockey Final.
First and foremost, put yourself in the shoes (or skates) of the players representing both Canada and the USA. Rather than commend them for their accomplishments, before the game you have one of your executives come out and threaten that if women’s hockey doesn’t improve that the plug might be pulled on the sport altogether. I understand your position that the lack of parity and competitive balance is bad for the Olympics; but how do you justify saying that? Rather than promote the game and the sport, you come out and ultimately suggest that what these women have achieved is irrelevant. I know some of these players personally (Poulin and Ward in particular – congrats by the way, and don’t let anyone downplay what you accomplished. Soak up every moment and take pride in the fact that your entire country is grateful for the time and energy you invested into bringing home Gold). I know how hard they train, how much they care and how proud they are to represent their country. You owe them an apology for trying to put a damper on what was ultimately a tremendous performance by Team Canada. If you really want better competition, either do something about the structure of the tournament, or maybe take Wickenheiser’s advice and watch the sport more than once every four years and try to help the development programs of other countries.
It’s really a shame that you strictly focused on the negatives of this sport. Team Canada centralizes for an entire year and the camp is composed of players who dreamt for 4 years of the possibility of representing their country especially on their home soil. The played with passion and intensity. They may have breezed through the tournament but they certainly earned their gold medals. The edition of this Women’s Hockey Team represented a changing of the guard/passing of the torch from the veterans to a strong group of young players. Impact players included goaltender Shannon Szabados (23 years old), a defensive corps of Catherine Ward (22), Tessa Bonhomme (24) and Meaghan Mikkelson (25); and forwards Marie-Philip Poulin (18), Rebecca Johnston (21), Haley Irwin (22) and MVP Meghan Agosta (23). That’s what the focus of the IOC should have been on. Of course, the IOC’s issues extended further following the game.
Team Canada wanted to celebrate with each other after the game, and did just that after all the fans cleared out. They went back on the ice with champagne, cigars and some beer to make sure they would never forget this moment. The IOC called it “not a good promotion of sports values”. Just to refresh everyone’s memory; they let fans drink in the stands during games, this is not something viewers/fans have not seen before (watch any team winning a Stanley Cup) and this is also coming from a group that has no problem handing out condoms to athletes in the Olympic village, so as to facilitate the act of engaging in meaningless sex. I see what you mean by “promoting sports values”. The IOC defense of that would be saying “we know athletes will likely have sex, we would rather them do it safely.” If that’s the case, I suggest that Hockey Canada and the team should apologize for having bottles on the ice and that they should have strictly used cans of beer because it’s less dangerous if you drop a can. Also; please don’t bore everyone with the “legal” arguments. The legal drinking age is 18 in a lot of places (Poulin is from Quebec where the age is 18) and how can you call it drinking in public if no one was there? They specifically waited for everyone to leave. The only issue I have with what transpired is the picture at the top…(special thanks to my sister Jodi for bringing this picture to my attention, and the observation with what’s “wrong” with it)
How dare Tessa Bonhomme (on the right) drink Coors Light!
Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.