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

February 26, 2010 | 11:06 am

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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