Oops, I did it again!

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:17 AM ET

QUEBEC CITY -- It was an, er, international incident. Anthem singer Caroline Marcil of Montreal, invited by Hockey Canada to sing the national anthem at the USA-Canada game here last night, made a forgettable night memorable.

Two lines into the Star Spangled Banner, she forgot the words. "Sorry,'' she said.

Then she started to sing again.

Again, when she got to ''so proudly we hail,'' she stopped. "Sorry,'' she said again.

Marcil then left the ice and quickly returned with a white piece of paper on which the words were written.

Stepping back on the ice, she did a Phil Esposito circa 1972 Canada-Russia series Fosbury Flop. Her feet went flying from under her and she landed in a two-cheek splat which reminded you of Josee Chouinard for Canada in figure skating.

"She came back. Her second effort was great,'' said Captain Canada Ryan Smyth.

Marcil, the daughter of Rene Marcil, the past president of Hockey Quebec, was helped off the ice, but no Team USA player stepped forward and offered to sing the song. So the game went anthemless.

"If she was singing the Canadian anthem I'm sure we all would have (sung),'' said Smyth.

That was international incident 'A'.

International incident 'B' was an arena more than half-empty for what turned out to be a 5-4 USA win over Canada on a goal by Mark Parrish with 4.5 seconds to play. The IIHF awarded Canada the 2008 World Hockey Championships with the idea half the round- robin games and the entire medal round would be played here.

Is there going to be a problem with Quebec playing host to at least half the games in the first IIHF World Hockey Championships ever to be held in Canada? It was a fair question as the crowd was officially announced at 7,166 in the 15,399-seat Le Colisee for last night's Canada-USA sendoff game to this year's Worlds in Austria.

Here last night, there were not as many fans nor did the ones here manage to match the atmosphere in Halifax two nights earlier, although they were loud and proud at the end.

When the IIHF decided to celebrate their 100th anniversary by bringing the Worlds to Canada for the first time, president Rene Fasel said the medal round would be in Quebec City and Halifax would be the second city. Hockey Canada disputed that from the moment they'd won the bid last year in Prague until Bob Nicholson told the Sun earlier this week "They're competing.''

If that's indeed the case, the score is 1-0 Halifax.

"I'd certainly liked to have seen more people,'' said Nicholson, who says he's not going to push the panic button.

"We just have to go in and get to know the people. That's why we had this game, to come in here and see where we're at and learn as much as we could learn. We've had a lot of feedback.''

Ticket prices of $65, $45 and $25 for the three tiers, the lockout, Quebec losing the Nordiques and three French Canadian players on the team were all factors. Nicholson said projected prices for 2008 would likely average about $30 a game.

As Team Canada leaves here for Europe today, this is all about 2005 not 2008. The team travels from here to Riga for a game against Latvia prior to heading to Prague for a fourth pre-tournament game against the Czech Republic. The Americans proceed to Munich and Rosenheim from here, where they will play Germany twice before heading in to Innsbruck to begin play in the IIHF World Hockey Championship tournament in the same pool as Canada. The two teams meet in their third games of the event May 5.

Canada got goals from Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, Montreal Canadiens' Sheldon Souray and local product Simon Gagne. Matt Cullen, who scored the only goal for the U.S. in Canada's 3-1 win in Halifax, scored two more in this one. Mike Knuble and Yan Stastny, son of former Quebec Nordiques star Peter Stastny, a player who was born here and lived here until he was seven, scored the others for the USA.

But the highlight was the national anthem. Caroline Marcil put her name on the game long before Parrish won it with 4.5 seconds to go.


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