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He shoots, he scores — and the crowds go wild for Canada’s Olympic hockey gold

Sunday, February 28th, 2010 | 3:41 pm

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By Kathy Michaels

Tumbleweeds were poised to blow down Kelowna’s silent streets this afternoon as Canada made its bid for Olympic gold in men’s hockey.

But those who nipped  into any restaurant, coffee shop or store were greeted with a cacophony of sound as locals went wild with hockey mania.

Crowds huddled in front of television screens belted out unabashed cheers or groans in chorus, depending on the play.

Downtown restaurant Sturgeon Hall offered a perfect example of the type of excitement that came along with today’s game.

Donning red, white, and Team Canada toques lululemon staff had come in earlier to distribute, the crowd let out near deafening cheers as Canada took the lead.

While it was an unusual display of nationalism, the restaurant’s owner Bernie Wilson said it was pretty par for the course as far as this Olympic season has gone.

“It’s been great,” said Wilson, noting the Games have offered a great boost to sales, but have also changed the dynamics of downtown hotspot.

“We’re getting the scene-sters, who never watch sports coming in to tune in to curling, speed jumping and everything.”

The crowd this afternoon was certainly diverse — men and women of all ages were in the crowd, though nine-year-old Seamus Ruddle appeared to be the youngest.

His job that afternoon was one of the utmost importance, explained his mum Anne Henderson.

While he watched the game from Canada, his dad was in a restaurant across the globe waiting for updates.

“We’ve been texting Ireland as we go,” said Henderson.

So, rest assured, Canada’s win was observed internationally thanks to a bit of modern technology and Seamus’s diligence.

In Vancouver,  Kelowna.com reporter Pieter Uni, said the streets were alive with activity and had been since early in the morning.

Everyone with a Maple Leaf or a dash or red paint had something to say about the game that boosted Canada to a Winter Olympic record.

“Now we can all breathe in deep and celebrate, this was the greatest game I’ve ever seen,” said David Allen, who watched the action unfold from a downtown Vancouver drinking hole.

Nearby, Carla Mapson had a similar thought:  “I’m just so happy, it means Canada can celebrate a great Olympic games”

And celebrating, they are. In cities across Canada the golden win has sparked a fervor that after the game has seeped into Kelowna’s streets.

Cars bearing maple leaf flags are driving up and down honking and cheering and hooting at those walking down the streets

It’s been a couple hours since the golden win, and though the crowds are getting excitable there’s yet to be any trouble said Sgt. Craig Adirchuk.

“We anticipated  it was going to get a bit busier, but so far it’s not been bad for us,” he said. “People are just out enjoying themselves.”

kathy@kelowna.com

He shoots, he scores — and the crowds go wild for Canada's Olympic hockey gold 5.053

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