Live blog: Canadian hockey vet shut out of big game

Gordon Robertson won a gold medal in the 1952 Olympics, but even he couldn't land a ticket for Sunday's big game.

Ina Fried Former Staff writer, CNET News
During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley.
Ina Fried
8 min read
Gordon Robertson, 1952 Canadian gold medalist, finds himself like millions of other hockey fans here, without a ticket to the big game Ina Fried/CNET

VANCOUVER, British Columbia--It's now about two hours until game time and all of Vancouver is staking out their place to watch the gold medal hockey game.

While lots of people think they deserve tickets, Gordon Robertson has a pretty good case. He was part of the 1952 Canadian gold medal-winning team.

The 83-year-old was popular outside Canada Hockey Place where hockey fans took pictures with him and rubbed his gold medal for good luck. But he didn't have a ticket for the big game.

"I wish they had invited our team, Robertson said. "I'm not mad, just disappointed."

Robertson's team went undefeated in 1952, though they did tie the Americans. Robertson noted it was a lot like the first U.S.-Canada game in Vancouver.

They outshot the American team by a two-to-one margin, but the U.S. had a hot goalie.

"That's me as a young guy," Robertson said, pointing to a picture of himself in a 1952 team photo.

Most of the folks hanging outside Canada Hockey Place were either selling stuff-flags, unofficial T-shirts, etc. or looking to buy tickets. I did hear one guy offering to sell a pair of tickets for $2,800 Canadian.

I don't have a ticket to Canada Hockey Place either, so I'll be watching the game from Molson Canadian Hockey House--the same spot where I watched the first U.S.-Canada hockey game.

11:05 a.m. PST: It's just over an hour til game time. They are passing out "Go Canada Go" thunder sticks--those inflatable tubes you bang together, as if we needed anything to make things louder.

Plus, I can't believe I didn't hear about this sooner, but there's an iPhone app that plays a Cowbell noise when you shake it. "I just downloaded it from the App store this week, said Sonny Magon of Vancouver. Magon also has an air horn app.

Meanwhile the folks sitting next to me are using beer to put on their maple leaf flag temporary tattoos. Well, it is the Molson Canadian Hockey House.

Janine and Shaun Verreault get in the spirit at the Molson Canadian Hockey House. Ina Fried/CNET

11:35 a.m.: It's starting to get quite crowded at Molson, with plenty of elbowing and bumping for position even though we are still some minutes from the puck drop.

"I should have worn hockey pads," said Janine Verreault, of Vancouver. Her husband's band, Wide Mouth Mason, is the opening act, playing on stage now.

11:50 a.m.: One of those who did score tickets for the game is Microsoft Business Division President Stephen Elop, who is a Canadian and a huge hockey fan.

Elop said in a post on Twitter that the place was a sea of red and white with nearly all the seats filled in time for warm-ups.

12:05 p.m.: Wide Mouth Mason is wrapping up and getting the crowd ramped up for the game

"We want the same color as beer," said lead singer and guitarist Shaun Verreault.

12:20 p.m.: The Canadian team skates onto the ice and this place is N-U-T-S. Loud boos (and a couple of cheers) as US team skates on the ice.

"Is there anywhere you'd rather be for the next three hours?" The CTV announcer says. I think the answer here goes without saying.

"Louuuuu" is chanted as the camera pans to Canadian goalie Roberto Luongo.

12:23 p.m.: And we're under way.

Huge cheers half a minute in as Canada gets a couple early shots.

12:30 p.m.: Just over 5 minutes in, chances each way. Crowd at Molson is living and dying with each shot, turnover, check or save.

CTV pans to a live shot from here at Molson and from Wayne Gretzky's restaurant in Toronto, all packed.

Under two minutes to go, US has killed the penalty and both teams are skating at full strength still 1-0 Canada.

12:33 p.m.: More chances each way, but Ryan Miller and Luongo up to the task. Still scoreless with nearly 9 minutes gone in the first period.

12:33 p.m.: U.S. had a great chance, puck got by Luongo, but defensemen kept it from going across the line as we hit the midway point of the first period.

12:42 p.m.: Canada scores as horn sounds and confetti falls here at Molson. 1-0 Canada.

The Molson Center crowd celebrates Canada's goal. Ina Fried/CNET

12:45 p.m.: With a one goal lead, Canada gets the first power play of the game.

12:47 p.m.: Under two minutes to go, the U.S. has killed the penalty and both teams are skating at full strength still 1-0 Canada.

12:53 p.m.: The horn sounds and Canada goes into the dressing room with a 1-0 lead as Luongo makes two key stops in the last 30 seconds. Canada had 10 shots and the U.S. 8.

12:55 p.m.: "One is the loneliest number, but it's better than zero," Shaun Verreault says as his band comes back on to play during the first intermission.

1:10 p.m.: The band wraps up just as the puck drops for the second period.

1:12 p.m.: Canada will get another power play, its second of the game. Penalty is on Ryan Malone for high sticking. Key penalty kill for the U.S. early in 2nd

1:15 p.m.: A beach ball is being batted around, but it's bad timing. Everyone is way too focused on the game. Meanwhile, the U.S. has killed the penalty and almost immediately the U.S. goes on the power play as Eric Staal called for interference.

1:18 p.m.: Canada scores just after killing penalty and confetti flies again. Crowd even noisier (perhaps because they have one more period of beer in them) Canada 2, U.S. 0

1:20 p.m.: That goal seems to have energized the Molson crowd, which was loudly cheering "Go Canada Go" until Canada picked up a penalty giving U.S. its second power play.

1:25 p.m.: The U.S. had some golden opportunities on its power play and in the ensuing couple of minutes, but Luongo stood tough and keeps it a 2-0 game

1:28 p.m.: U.S. scores to cut lead in half, needless to say no corresponding confetti or cheers at Molson.

1:37 p.m.: Three and a half to go and the U.S. nearly ties it.

"That's not cool, you guys," said Nathan Harland of Toronto.

1:37 p.m.: With a minute to go, Canada had a one-on-none but couldn't convert. The U.S. had a late rush too but couldn't convert and the period ends 2-1.

1:47 p.m.: Second intermission and they're playing the hockey song--the puckhead equivalent to "Take me out to the ball game."

"The best game you can name is a good ol hockey game," the crowd sings. And of course, they change "the home team wins" to "Canada wins."

1:50 p.m.: CTV shows another series of crowd shots, this time including Molson Hockey House, Robson Square in the heart of downtown Vancouver, and Kandahar, Afghanistan, where Canadian troops are stationed.

1:55 p.m.: Twenty minutes to go for the gold medal. Team Canada has the home crowd and a one-goal lead. But win or lose, you get the feeling this raucous crowd is going to help tear down the tent that is housing the Molson Hockey House.

2:10 p.m.: Ten minutes to go and the cowbells and cheers are getting louder with each save, blocked shot or clear. The Canadian crowd can practically taste gold.

"Oh yeah," said Judi Miletich. "We got the gold."

2:15 p.m.: Just how important is this game here?

"It's the most important thing you can imagine right now in this country," said Dan Osachoff of Vancouver. What will happen if Canada wins? "We will riot in the streets."

If the unspeakable happens?

"We're going to go home and cry," Osachoff said.

2:18 p.m.: The U.S. is firing at Luongo, but he is stopping everything the U.S. can muster. With less than five minutes to go, Miletich is no longer so calm.

"Come on you guys," Miletich said. "We need another goal.

2:19 p.m.: The crowd is stomping so hard the floor is shaking as "The final countdown" plays during the commercial time out, followed by "We will rock you."

2:22 p.m.: Sidney Crosby had a breakaway that could have sealed it. But Ryan Miller keeps the U.S. in it with under three minutes to go.

This place is ready to explode.

2:25 p.m.: Two minutes to go and Coach Ron Wilson will have to decide when to pull Miller

"We want gold," screams the Molson crowd. The screams are constant now.

1:17 to go and the U.S. net is empty

2:27 p.m.: 54.8 to go crowd jumping

2:29 p.m.: And the crowd is stunned. 30 seconds from gold and the U.S. net empty and they tie it up.

The crowd stays pumped as we head to OT Ina Fried/CNET

2:31 p.m.: End of regulation 2-2.

My understanding is that we will have a full intermission then a 20-minute sudden death overtime. Then, if still tied, a shootout.

2:34 p.m.: "My heart just got half broken," said Osachoff. "We're going to piece it together when this game ends and Canada wins."

2:38 p.m.: CTV showed a clip of the Canadian that just missed a gold earlier in cross-country. That was not a clip the crowd wanted to see.

"Too soon," yelled one crowd member.

2:47 p.m.: It's Four on four. Every heart is pounding. Cowbells sure, but nervous cowbells. As U.S. ices the puck. The crowd breathes for the first time in a minute and 11 seconds.

2:51 p.m.: Four minutes gone by in overtime in this destined to be classic game. Canada has just had several great chances that had the crowd ready to celebrate.

Fans at the Molson Center go wild after the sudden-death goal. Ina Fried/CNET

2:54 p.m.: Absolute bedlam in Molson Hockey House as Canada gets the gold

2:57 p.m.: I have some great shots with my SLR I will send once this place calms down (which could be mid March).

"I feel like a million bucks," said Osachoff, the investment adviser who earlier had his heart half-broken. "I could not be prouder to be a Canadian."

3:08 p.m.: Well, that was fast, Molson already has a gold medal T-shirt available.

Meanwhile, outside the hockey house hundreds more fans are watching on the big screen. The crowd can still be heard a football field way at the Sochi House, a pavilion celebrating the Russian city that will host the next games.

That's it for the live blog. I'm headed to Robson Square to see the action there and hopefully post some photos of the celebration.

Join the conversation: CBS Sports is hosting a live chat about the gold medal game.

Here are some images of the celebration after Canada's win:

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Ina Fried/CNET
Ina Fried/CNET
As thousands of fans celebrated inside the Molson Hockey House, hundreds more watched outside on a big screen. Ina Fried/CNET