TORONTO ó The iconic Canadian flag waved by Sidney Crosby after Team Canada won the Olympic gold medal in Vancouver has found a home in Toronto.
Donated by its owner, David Ash, the oversized flag ó measuring 1.8 metres by 3.6 metres ó was inducted into the Olympic exhibit at the Hockey Hall of Fame on Tuesday.
"I was fortunate to have front row seats for every men's, women's and sledge Team Canada hockey game," said Ash, a 56-year-old tour company operator from Regina, Sask. "I had to sneak it into the building ... it wasn't regulation size. When Sidney Crosby scored the goal, I unravelled the flag and the rest is history."
Regulation sized flags are half the size as the one Crosby waved in victory. Ash folded the flag in half and rolled it on a golf ball retriever to get it into the arena.
"They got their medals and flowers and there was the team photo," Ash explained. "There was no Stanley Cup to hoist in the air and (Team Canada winger) Corey Perry came to my seat and asked to borrow my flag."
A spectator sitting behind Ash at the game told him right on the spot that he'd be willing to pay him $5,000 for the flag, but Ash refused and said it was going to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
"It's priceless to be associated with this great sport and Team Canada's victory is something that will live on forever," Ash said. "There were 27 million people who watched that game. And that's just in Canada. I've had people from Mexico and Brazil come up to me and say they've seen my flag on TV."
Hockey Hall of Fame vice-president Phil Pritchard said the flag is another contribution to the legacy of the 2010 Olympics when both Canadian men's and women's hockey teams won gold.
"It keeps growing," Pritchard said. "To Sidney Crosby's gloves to the puck that was found, I think when you see the flag, the maple leaf in the middle, it's Canada."