Don't mess with Canada's hockey — or beer

By STEVE TILLEY, QMI Agency

You can make fun of our politeness, our insecurities or even the weird way some of us say “out.” But don’t you dare you insult two of the things that define us best: our hockey, and our beer.

That seems to be the sentiment online, where photos of our women’s hockey team celebrating with beer, champagne and cigars after their gold medal win Thursday night have spread like wildifre. Reports of the ladies’ on-ice celebration have appeared on hundreds of news websites across the globe, from The New York Times (“A toast to hockey gold, but at what cost?”) to the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph to Cigar Aficionado (seriously).

But the overwhelming opinion online seems to be that everyone should relax and grab a cold one. Most international media outlets – even the crabby Brits – have taken the high road and avoided outright criticism of the girls, while Joe and Jane web-surfer are rallying to Team Canada’s defence.

“It’s not like the girls were having an orgy on the ice. They were celebrating their well-deserved win,” wrote a user calling herself Karen in Los Angeles, commenting on an NBCsports.com poll that asks, “Did the Canadian women’s hockey team go overboard in their celebration?”

Nearly two-thirds of the poll’s respondents have said no.

“I don’t condone underage drinking, but lighten up,” wrote another poll respondent. “Winning gold calls for some excess. Sheesh.”

A similar poll at National Public Radio’s NPR.org website asks, “Should the Canadian women be cut some slack?” As of this writing, 87% of respondents had said yes.

And in response to the concern that 18-year-old forward Marie-Philip Poulin can’t legally drink in B.C., some blog posters pointed out that skeleton gold medallist Jon Montgomery was unlawfully consuming alcohol in public when he drank from a pitcher of beer on the streets of Whistler after his win, but no one batted an eye.

Heck, he shared a beer with The Oprah Winfrey Show’s Ali Wentworth during a Friday segment shot in a public skating rink. Did the rink have a licence to serve alcohol? Doubtful. And should anyone care? Definitely not.

**

Interesting Olympics link of the day: A video on the New York Times website looks at the evolution of Olympic sport pictograms, those little stick-figure representations of each event. I don’t agree with their assessment that Athens 2004 had the best pictograms, but Atlanta 1996’s bubble-butt nudes were definitely a miss. Check it out here: http://nyti.ms/olypicts

**

Steve Tilley is following the Olympics experience on TV and on the web throughout the Winter Games. You can e-mail him at steve.tilley@sunmedia.ca or follow him on Twitter at @stevetilley.

POLL