Canada 3, USA 2: No Mighty Ducks To Save the United States This Time

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Canada 3, USA 2: No Mighty Ducks To Save the United States This Time
Harry How/Getty Images

 

There won't be any movies about Canada's epic 2010 men's Olympic hockey victory over the United States, at least from Hollywood.

In this match, reality, not fiction prevailed.

The American players knew what they were up against.  They knew they were in for a tough game against Canada.

Then they found out what the USSR found out in 1972 and 1987: what it's like to have a dramatic goal scored by Canada to win a medal or series in the last minute with everything on the line.

More importantly, the American public found out what it's like.

Maybe now there won't be any more corny movies made that fly in the face of reality, in order to maintain the American sports myth.

If Americans don't have a real hero, they'll manufacture one. For baseball, it's the Bad News Bears.  For hockey, it's the Mighty Ducks.

Fortunately, I've never seen a Mighty Duck movie but I've been told about them.

In them, Canada is always conveniently defeated by some villainous European team, leaving the underdog Ducks to save North American hockey.

Canada's defeat is of course discreetly handled, taking place off camera and quickly mentioned and forgotten. Disney doesn't want to harm sales of its products north of the American border.

Every Canadian who has watched these movies is either dumbfounded or laughs with contempt. They still wonder when the Ducks are going to come north of the 49th parallel to play them.

In fact, I don't think there's ever been a game between the Ducks and Canada. Pity.

Sometimes shamefully, Canada tries to emulate this boorish garbage. Usually, they can back it up with their play on the ice.

You won't get any American players who regularly play with and against Canadians endorsing this embarrassing crap. They know what it's like to play against them. In fact, they try to emulate the Canadian style of tough, physical play.

Disney tried carry this myth into the NHL.  When they were awarded an expansion team for Anaheim, they were called, (what else) the Mighty Ducks.

Those Ducks at least have the distinction of really being a Stanley Cup Champion. Last year they played one of the hardest hitting playoff series in NHL history against the Detroit Red Wings.  Besides the finals between Pittsburgh and Detroit, that was probably the best series of the playoffs.

The United States was looking for a Duck—like, Hollywood finish to the 2010 men's hockey competition.

Instead bitter reality intruded, something the Russians and other European opponents of Canada know only too well.

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