Team USA’s big upset came with some controversy at the end of the game. After defeating Canada 2-0 in stunning fashion, Team USA brought a barrel to center ice during their post-game celebration. The barrel had Team Canada’s hockey logo on it. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s what the barrel looked like:
So why did they do it? Several members of the United States team said that the barrel was their symbol of motivation to defeat their opponents each game. The barrel would be kept in the locker room. Each game would bring a new one.
Head Coach Nate Leaman in his post-game press conference explained the significance of the barrel as well:
“It’s a story that when I was an assistant coach in 2007, that Ron Rolston brought to our team. About crossing the heart of the Sahara Desert, crossing a terrain that’s 500 miles long, that over 1,300 people had perished and the only way that they could figure to cross this part of the Sahara Desert was to put barrels out so that when you got to one barrel, the only thing you could see was the next barrel on the horizon. I shared the story with the guys before the tournament, and let them know that we’re not going to talk about the gold medal. All we’re talking about is going one barrel at a time.”
The team would take pictures around the barrel in the locker room after their wins, but after their stunning 2-0 victory, the team felt that a celebration on the ice with the barrel would mean a lot more for not only their journey but to represent their country. A lot of people, especially in Canada, saw it as an act of bragging and something that shouldn’t have happened. But, when you really look at the motive, there was no disrespect meant. Every team has their own unique way to win games. It’s what happens in sports, and if it’s done with no disrespect to the opponent, that’s all that matters.
Aside from the controversy, Team USA’s victory is one that should be celebrated for years to come. It was a big day statistically for the young players. Goalie Spencer Knight stopped 34 shots in his third shutout of the tournament. Forward Trevor Zegras put one in the net along with one assist. Zegras totaled 7 goals and 11 assists throughout the tournament.
It was another feel-good story for the United States, exactly like Disney’s Miracle (I encourage all of you to watch that movie). May this victory motivate others that there is light at the end of the tunnel during these tough times.