Aside from a nervous moment when Sweden’s Gustav Nyquist hit the post early in the first period, it was all jubilation at bars around Calgary, as hockey fans gathered to watch Team Canada cruise to another Olympic gold medal.
“Never in doubt,” Alex Gutsche said outside the Ship and Anchor Pub on 17 Avenue SW, after enjoying the game over a couple of pints with a few friends and a few dozen fellow fans.
“It was a great game,” added Dylan Smith, who secured a front-row seat in front of the pub’s projection screen by showing up at 4 a.m. to wait in line.
“I had a lot of fun watching it,” Smith said. “It was good, solid hockey from both clubs and you know what? The better team came out on top.”
The crowd at the Ship spontaneously sang the national anthem after the final seconds ticked away and the Canadian men’s team secured their victory over Sweden, 3-0.
Moments later, Thomas Toplak burst out of the Twisted Kilt Pub just up the street, cheering and waving a giant Canadian flag.
“Canada rules the world!” he shouted, as passing cars honked in approval.
Soon, more fans – some of them wearing shirts, some not –poured onto 17 Avenue, cheering, waving flags, and high-fiving strangers.
All this before 8 a.m.
Police cars roamed up and down the busy strip and officers chatted with a few of the more unruly early-morning revellers, fuelled no doubt by the province’s sudden decision on Friday to allow liquor sales in Alberta as soon as the puck dropped in Sochi, Russia.
Smith, for his part, thought it was the right decision.
“That’s the best thing to happen to this country, other than the gold medal,” he said.