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The Globe and Mail

Canadian men's Olympic hockey squad voted CP team of the year

Canadian forward Sidney Crosby jubilates as his team win gold during the Men's Gold Medal Hockey match between USA and Canada at the Canada Hockey Place during the XXI Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada on February 28, 2010. Canada beat the USA 3-2 to win gold.


Thirteen days of anxiety and expectation exploded in a coast-to-coast roar of joy as Sidney Crosby scored in overtime to give Canada the medal it wanted most at the 2010 Winter Olympics - the men's hockey gold.

That moment in Vancouver and the victory in the sport on which so much Canadian pride rests has led the men's Olympic hockey squad to be named the team of the year in an annual survey of the country's newsrooms by The Canadian Press.

It came on the final day in Vancouver as a flood of medals went to the host country. The men's hockey medal was Canada's 14th gold of the Games, a record for a country at a single Winter Olympics.

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"The pressure of the world and the entire country was on us to go out and not disappoint," Team Canada centre Jonathan Toews said in an interview. "To beat some pretty good teams on the way to the gold medal was amazing. Everyone's trying to knock you off and the pressure's all on you, so for us to find a way to win was amazing."

Peak television ratings had more than 80 per cent of Canadians watching as their team pulled out a 3-2 victory in the final against an opportunistic American squad that had chilled a country's heart with an upset 5-3 win in the preliminary round.

Team Canada easily took first place in a survey of sports editors and broadcasters with 279 points, including a majority of the first-place votes.

"The team fought through enormous pressure, the highest of expectations, early adversity and won - with teamwork," said Phil Andrews of the Guelph Mercury. "It delivered a where-were-you-when Canadian moment as well."

The Grey Cup-champion Montreal Alouettes were a distant second with 75 points, followed by the Olympic women's hockey team at 63 points.

"Not even close when one considers the depth of talent in international hockey and the fine line between winning and losing," said Carl Fleming of the Truro Daily News. "Aside from an early loss to the USA, the Canadian men's hockey team was borderline brilliant."

On Sunday, the 2010 Olympics were voted The Canadian Press news story of the year.

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Figure skater Joannie Rochette was chosen the female athlete of the year Tuesday. The male athlete of the year will be announced Thursday.

For the first time in 2010, The Canadian Press conducted a people's choice poll for its annual awards, along with Yahoo! Canada. Team Canada was also the public's first pick, with 54 per cent of the vote, ahead of the Olympic women's hockey team at 12 per cent.

With Canada leading 2-1 in the gold-medal game, U.S. head coach Ron Wilson pulled goaltender Ryan Miller for an extra attacker and Zach Parise scored to force overtime with 25 seconds left in regulation time.

After Canada survived a close call in the extra period, Crosby barrelled into the American zone and put the puck into the left corner, then shouted "Iggy!" as he broke toward Miller and fired Jarome Iginla's pass into the net.

Crosby threw his stick and gloves in the air in triumph before he was mobbed on the ice by his teammates, while red-and-white clad fans leapt and hugged each other after a goal that became a classic. The puck eventually made its way to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

"To win at home was special," Hockey Canada president Bob Nicholson said. "To win gold in Salt Lake [in 2002]for the first time in 50 years was special.

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"To win at home with 27.5-million people watching the game [on television] that was special."

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