NHLers salute Canadian women's celebration

Canada's Tessa Bonhomme smokes a cigar as she carries a beer and her gold medal on center ice after...

Canada's Tessa Bonhomme smokes a cigar as she carries a beer and her gold medal on center ice after beating Team USA. (Andre Forget/QMI AGENCY)

MIKE ZEISBERGER, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 5:57 PM ET

Francois Beauchemin has enjoyed the privilege of partying it up on the ice after winning the Stanley Cup in 2007 with the Anaheim Ducks.

As such, the veteran defenceman can understand why Canada’s gold medal-winning women’s team would want to celebrate on rink after defeating the U.S. 2-0 in the Olympic title game in Vancouver Thursday night.

“I don’t see a problem with it,” Beauchemin said Friday. “You work hard for a long time and you want to enjoy the moment.”

The IOC does not necessarily agree and is launching an investigation into the post-game antics on the ice, which included beer, champagne and the odd cigar. According to an IOC spokesperson, such celebrations would be better served inside the dressing room.

The team regretted “any embarrassment” the celebration may have caused, Hockey Canada said in a statement.

“The members of Team Canada apologize if their on-ice celebrations, after fans had left the building, have offended anyone,” the statement said.

“In the excitement of the moment the celebration left the confines of our dressing room and shouldn’t have.”

Marie-Philip Poulin, 18, who scored both goals for Canada, is under the legal drinking age of 19 in B.C., but was seen holding a beer. The drinking age in Alberta, where the Canadian team trains, is 18.

“I know in Quebec it’s 18,” said Beauchemin who, like Poulin, hails from La Belle Province.

Veteran forward Wayne Primeau said the practise of celebrating on the ice or the field has become commonplace in North American pro sports.

“I don’t know if there were a lot of people in the stands to see it, but I don’t think it’s a big deal,” Primeau said. “They just went through a long year and worked very hard. Let them enjoy themselves.

“Having said that, I don’t like to see that other stuff (beer, liquor), but if it was just champagne, you see that in the Stanley Cup final, in football, in baseball, even after pennant wins.”

Leafs forward John Mitchell said he can see the IOC’s point as well.

“Out on the ice, you probably shouldn’t be doing that,” Mitchell said. “Everyone’s watching, so it’s probably good to be respectful and keep a code of conduct.”

As for Poulin, Mitchell sympathizes with her.

“She was probably in the moment and probably wanted a glass of champagne,” he said. “But rules are rules.”

mike.zeisberger@sunmedia.ca


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