The Olympics this year were held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. They started on February 9th and ended on the 25th. Canada sent over 230 athletes including our flag bearers, Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue, the figure skating duo. This was the first time Canada has had two flag bearers for the opening ceremonies. The Canadian Olympic Committee Chief Executive Officer, Chris Overholt, expected Team Canada to place first in overall medals, although other predictions place us third after Germany and Norway. We ended with 29 medals in third, behind Norway with 39 medals and Germany with 31 medals. We were projected to win 33 medals, which is an improvement from Sochi 2014, where we had won 25 medals.
For the first time since 1994, the NHL had not allowed their players to go to the Olympics because they do not benefit financially from their participation in Pyeongchang. The NHL believes this because they won’t get as much of an opportunity to grow their fan base and advertise with it being held in South Korea. In addition, if their star players were to be injured overseas, they could be out for the rest of the season; therefore, allowing the players to go to the Olympics is too great of a risk for the NHL and their stakeholders.
With the NHL not putting their season on hold to accommodate the athletes selected by their countries to attend the Olympics, the Canadian men’s team no longer consisted of the usuals such as Sidney Crosby, Roberto Luongo, Jonathan Toews and basically the entire team. The Canadian team now consisted of players from around the world playing in various hockey leagues. We lost to Germany in the semi finals, although they team was still able to get a medal for Canada, placing third.
Our Women's team, being a top contender for gold this year alongside the United States, had made it to the finals. The roster consisted of Professional CWHL Athletes, Olympic alumni, national and NCAA players, which provided a wealth of skills and talent across various sectors of the women’s hockey world. Although, in the finals, the Canadians lost in a 3-2 shootout. This hit hard for the women’s Canadian team being the first time in four olympics where they had not won gold.
Canada brought home eleven golds, in events such as freestyle skiing, short track, figure skating, men’s big air snowboarding, speed skating, bobsleigh and curling. Tessa and Scott brought home two golds, one in the team event and a second in ice dancing, which was a perfect way to end their career. Another historic moment for Canada was winning the first gold in men’s big air snowboarding, which had its debut in the olympics this year. Sébastien Toutant brought home the gold.