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Hockey Canada apologizes for its women's team's gold medal celebration [Updated]

Canada If the Canadian men's hockey team goes on to win gold, expect a pretty subdued celebration (at least from the players).

Hockey Canada apologized Friday for the women's hockey team's on-ice celebration following their gold-medal victory over the United States. Canadian players drank beer and champagne and pretended to smoke cigars on the ice following the game. The display drew the ire of at least one International Olympic Committee official.

"The members of Team Canada apologize if their on-ice celebrations, after fans had left the building, have offended anyone," Hockey Canada posted in a statement. "In the excitement of the moment, the celebration left the confines of our dressing room and shouldn't have. The team regrets that its gold medal celebration may have caused the IOC or the COC any embarrassment.

"Our players and team vow to uphold the values of the Olympics moving forward and view the situation as a learning experience."

The IOC's executive director, Gilbert Felli, criticized the celebration.

"It's not what we want to see. I don't think it's a good promotion of sports values. If they celebrate in the changing room, that's one thing, but not in public."

The celebration also has been criticized since 18-year-old forward Marie-Philip Poulin was taking part in the post-game activities. It is illegal for anyone under 19 to drink alcohol in British Columbia.

Canadian Olympic Committee spokesman Steve Keogh said the organization did not provide the drinks or cigars for the nearly hour-long celebration.

"We condone celebrations... We don't condone actions of irresponsibility," Keogh said. "I think Canadians understand it's quite an emotional moment for our team. It was not our intention to go against any IOC protocols."

It remains to be seen whether the IOC will pursue the matter any further.

[Updated, 1:28 p.m.: The IOC has asked Canadian organizers for more details regarding the post-game celebration. However, it did not characterize the request as an investigation.

"To be honest, I think people are in search of a story that doesn't exist," IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.]

-- Austin Knoblauch

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: Canada forward Gillian Apps pretends to smoke a cigar following Canada's 2-0 victory over the U.S. on Thursday. Credit: Cris Bouroncle / AFP/Getty Images

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Comments (34)

man, talk about a tempest in a teapot! drinking beer and champagne??? for shame!!! how unsporting. how unladylike...

geez, just let them enjoy their win. it's not like they were ransacking the arena.

A celebration in the middle of the streets is a public celebration but a celebration at center ice in an EMPTY arena is private. They may have made a judgement error but who can blame them. They are proud of their accomplishments and deserve to celebrate. It is not as if they were rioting which seems to be so popular with university students when their teams win at basketball or football.

And incidentally the comment about Marie-Philip Poulin being underage, please keep in mind that the drinking age in Quebec where she is from is 18.

I think that people make a big deal out the smallest things.

There was a US male athlete that was pressured (by the IOC) into leaving Vancouver and returning home after being caught in a bar celebrating his bronze medal. What the canadian women did was much worse. They did it on the ice, and under-agers were involved. Also, they are part of the host team. If this US man was pretty much made to go home, and not take part in the rest of the olympics, it is not too harsh, or (as I read in an earlier article) over-reacting to ban them from the closing ceremonies.

Oh yes, Gilbert Felli thinks doing illegal things in secret is OK.
That makes sense, coming from a guy whose country's economy is based on a legion of banks hiding the ill-gotten booty of foreign criminals behind numbered accounts.

I think the words to the Swiss National Anthem go something like, "SHHHHHHHHhhhhh, don't tell.......your secret's safe with us"

If the Canadian Gold Medal players did do something wrong, it was drinking "Molson Canadian Beer", made by a subsidiary of American-owned Coors.

Jeez, those Female American Hockey players who were sulking with silver medals around their necks should be able to manage a smug smirk at that one!

Yeah,and if you intercept a pass in pro football,run a 99 yard touch down,don't celebrate that either.
What is wrong with this planet,these women trained for who knows how long to win this game,let them have a moment in the spotlight.
I would same the same if the US women had won,and celebrated.
Something wrong with all this anti attention.

Maybe a bit much, but not a big deal.

I'm happy for the Canadians, they won fair and square. However, this is the Olympics and the world is watching. I'm glad it wasn't the American showing their A$$ this time.

They won the GOLD in the olympics! Why can they celibrate. Whats the point in training for 4 years. Play your butt off. Beat one of your best rivals. but by gosh dont be happy and celibrate your accomplishment. By the way I am an American. If we won the gold I hope our girls would do the same thing.

Let's remember that Gilbert Felli's actions are what brought this too light... had he of just asked the girls to go inside, instead of making a public announcement denouncing the actions, it wouldnt have reflected so poorly on Olympic organizers...

the blame lay NOT in Canada's celebrations, which were warranted, but on the IOC for making it such a public issue... but I guess for the IOC, any advertising is good advertising...

First of all I was 13 in 1958 - so I most certainly CAN comment. Secondly - to those who criticize these kids for their celebration - GET A LIFE! For many this will be the biggest event of their lives - and I suspect that for ALL of them, it is certainly the biggest event of their life todate,. They win a gold medal on Canadian soil. They have a right to celebrate. If this means having a drink when underage - so be it. To Hockey Canada - take the cactus out of your butt!

The only mistake here was to apologize! After all none of them bared a breast did they? I really hope they were smoking good cuban cigar"s.

These women deserved to celebrate. Blow off some steam. The world is now a tough enough place, you don't need to censor this. Those 'officials' should get a life, instead of hiding behind one.

Our children look up to these young people. They are held at higher standards in all areas of their lives. We know they are not perfect, but, they should be discreet and think of the young people who are using them as role models.

Party Naked!

Wait, Canadian hockey players having a beer after winning? That's the craziest thing I've ever heard.

It's terrible to see people smoking cigars and destroying their bodies as they were doing after they won. I suppose they were taking Oxycontin, too? Winning doesn't mean you should take to hurting your body with cigar smoke and alcohol. If they aren't already smokers, which I'm guessing they are, they just hugely increased their chances of becoming addicted to smoking.

Misty: I believe the issue was not that he was celebrating his win, but rather HOW he was celebrating. Joanne commented that they should be discreet; I'm sure that, as the building was closed and the fans gone, they thought they were. They just didn't count on stalker press. Canadian journalsts, as a rule, don't follow celebs and athletes around waiting for them to slip up so they can drag them down...

As for the under-age drinking: in both her home province and the province where she trained, 18 is the legal age for consumption of alcohol. Having just scored the only two goals in an Olympic gold-medal match, on a team of adults where she had just proven herself the equal of the rest of the players, it probably didn't occur to her (or anyone else on the team) that the drinking age in BC was higher than where she normally lived.

The REAL story here should be, why was that reporter there in the first place (likely in breach of security protocols)?

The girls should have used light beer...they are atheletes!

Actually, its the Olympics, not the Women's world cup of hockey (or whatever they call it). There are rules and regulations regarding sportsmanship and while I tend to understand the celebratory atmosphere, it was a little much compared to how other athletes have celebrated their victories.

Canada's 2 medals yesterday. One, a gold, was for the women's hockey team and the other was for the skater (a bronze). IMO, the "celebration" by the skater was much more in line with the spirit of the Olympics than by this raucous display.

That's my girls... That's how we do it up here in canada... Of course we are gonna break out the beers ...the smokes ... and have a good time... It's part of our culture ... It's what we are known for ... I'm proud of ya ladies !! :)

This is not news, there are much more serious things happening in todays world and this is all you can come up with, shame on the press for even mentioning it. Go Canada!

It's always to say your sorry than to ask for permission.
To display illegal underage drinking is contrary to the spirit of the games, and flaunts the rules of the organization that put them where they are. I can understand being in the moment, but if you are going to break the law, do it in private and try to keep from making a public spectacle of it.

The IOC should stuff it. Who cares what they think? They're pompous, self-serving international bureaucrats... dare I say, worse than bankers! They should be happy Canada won on home ice, and take joy in the Canadian women's raucous, and well-deserved, celebration. The Canadian women are the champs and they should be partying their friggin' gourds off.

yeah uhm false info. Marie Poulin is infact 19 thank you very much and if USA had won... they probably would've done MUCH worse and no one would criticize it!


they won a GOLD medal on HOME soil! and they are PROUD let them celebrate in peace. Hockey Canada should not have apologized.

I'm simply amazed at what people become upset over these days. As mentioned, they just won a Gold medal after years of training and were simply celebrating. You see champagne in the locker room on live TV after a Superbowl win...so how is that different? I literally am exhausted with the constant level of scrutiny that goes on anymore. People are no longer allowed to act like human beings because someone, somewhere, just might be upset for some reason. How this offends anyone, I don't understand.

To the people saying that they are athletes and they shouldn't be drinking alcohol or smoking a cigar...are you kidding me? Do you really think all top level athlete lead a life of flawless food and drink intake with no vices? And to think that smoking a celebratory cigar raises your chances of addiction are just silly. And don't let me forget the "they look up to them" theory. Do you really believe that all Canadian kids are going to grab some beers and cigars now because of this?

Honestly, everyone in this world needs to settle down a bit and relax. And for the record, I'm American. So I'm not posting this as a Canadian fan, but as someone who is tired of people turning the smallest things into national news for no good reason.



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