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A few of the Canadian fans who were able to watch and celebrate a gold medal at Real Sports Bar in Toronto as Canada defeated the United States in women’s hockey at the Sochi Olympics on Feb. 20, 2014. (Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)
A few of the Canadian fans who were able to watch and celebrate a gold medal at Real Sports Bar in Toronto as Canada defeated the United States in women’s hockey at the Sochi Olympics on Feb. 20, 2014. (Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)

It was sudden death for workplace productivity as Canada won gold in women’s hockey Add to ...

The excitement extended beyond Canada’s borders. Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a surprise announcement about the win via intercom during a flight back from a North American leaders’ summit in Toluca, Mexico. Passengers on the plane included a group of journalists and business delegates who were travelling with the Prime Minister during his first official visit to Mexico. As he announced the win, Mr. Harper joked that he had temporarily taken over the plane and said he was looking forward to the beer U.S. President Barack Obama owed him. The two leaders had bet one case of beer on the women’s Olympic hockey final, and a second on the men’s semi-final, which takes place Friday.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz may become an advocate for wireless communications on airplanes in the wake of the game. The central bank governor got the news somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, when the pilot of his Air Canada flight to Sydney informed passengers of the result. Mr. Poloz, who landed safely in Australia for a Group of 20 meeting this weekend, was “thrilled” when he heard the score and was sorry he missed seeing the game, a spokeswoman said.

“I was in Barbados, two screaming housekeepers by my side, watching every shot as I am trying to explain the game to two wonderful elderly Barbadian ladies and they ‘got it’ in OT,” Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk said in an e-mail. “Everyone was jumping up and down in my living room. I was sooooo proud that moment being a Canadian. … Got two new Sens fans on top! Perfect day!!!!!”

John Doig, chief marketing officer for Bank of Nova Scotia, watched the game on an iPad mini in his office with a couple of colleagues. “We were trying to keep it low-key, but it was nerve wracking.”

Leo de Bever, chief executive of the Edmonton-based Alberta Investment Management Corp. (AIMCo), said his staff was watching the game outside his office. “I had a conference call. It was easy to figure out who won.”

“I wish I saw it live,” Royal Bank of Canada chief executive Gordon Nixon, another frustrated fan, said in an e-mail. “I was walking to a meeting through the [underground] path knowing we were down by one and heard a massive roar which I assumed was the tying goal. When I got back to my office I checked my computer and saw the headline. Between that and our curling gold, it was a great day for Canadian women. Very proud Canadian!!!”

“I wish I had been watching,” said Craig Alexander, the chief economist of Toronto-Dominion Bank. “My entire team was crammed in a conference room watching it on TV. The TV is there for watching budget releases and financial events. This time it was being used for something important. I was meeting with the CEO. It would have been career limiting to bail on him.”

Chrysler Canada chief executive officer Reid Bigland said he monitored the game online from his office in Detroit. “Great comeback,” he said.

It wasn’t only Canadians who were watching.

“My staff was glued to the Olympic hockey game,” television host Ellen DeGeneres tweeted. “Congratulations, Canadians! You gave an epic performance.”

Back in Canada, Governor-General David Johnston learned of the win while participating in a conference in Ottawa. He then asked the assembly to rise and sing the national anthem as he savoured the moment.

Federal NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair was doing political rounds in Kelowna, B.C., when “all of a sudden all hell broke loose and we had just won the game,” he said. “Everything froze. I spun around in my chair. There was a TV screen not that far away. And nobody pretended that anything else mattered any more. We just concentrated on it. We were waiting for the replay because a lot of us had missed it and everybody was just going nuts.”

In Montreal, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was following the game on Twitter while preparing for his speech to the Liberal convention. Television monitors were set up all around the convention floor, with groups of Liberals gathered to watch the game.

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