One goal to rule them all, one hero to find them.
One game to bring them all and in the happiness bind them.
The hero was Sidney Crosby and the goal is now forever known in Canadian lore as “the Golden Goal.”
Today marks the 10-year anniversary of Team Canada’s emphatic gold medal win to bookend the 2010 Winter Olympics.
It’s become one of those “where-were-you-when” moments that’s etched into the country’s collective conscious and the numbers from the time bear that out.
The game remains the most-watched television broadcast in Canadian history, with 80 per cent of the population tuning in. The 3-2 overtime win was, at the time, the most watched hockey game in 30 years south of the border.
The number of people who watched the contest outmatched virtually every other marquee sports event at the time, surpassing the 2010 Rose Bowl, the 2009 World Series, the 2009 NBA finals, the 2010 Daytona 500 and the NCAA’s men’s basketball final.
Those who played in the game, called the game and were at the game are now reflecting 10 years later in media across North America.
It started with a yell so loud that television cameras picked it up clear as day. Crosby’s goal at 7:40 of overtime was preceded by a manic yell to linemate Jarome Iginla, who fed a pass to the Pittsburgh Penguins captain in the low slot, just left of the American net.
“Iggy, Iggy, Iggy!”
“I think on our second shift in OT, he brought the puck in, tried to make a move and it ended up in the corner. I cycled in below him to help out and it ended up on my stick, and then I heard that voice,” Iginla told the Players’ Tribune. “Iggy! Iggy! Iggy! Loud. Clear. It almost shocked me, a bit. I gotta get this guy the puck.”
Seconds later, tens of millions Canadians hollered too and Vancouver was turned upside down.
“As a kid growing up, you dream of scoring goals like that,” Crosby said in a recent interview with the CBC. “So for it to happen in Canada and the way it unfolded, I think, definitely … happiness comes to mind.”
Scoring from what looked to be an awkward angle, Crosby’s seeing-eye shot beat U.S. goalie, and future Canucks netminder Ryan Miller, through the five hole.
Miller does not remember the touchstone moment so fondly.
“Big for him, not so good for me,” Miller told reporters in 2015. “I made a decision to play Sid a certain way and he made a decision to make a different kind of play. I thought he was going to go to that strong backhand he's got.”
Canuck goalie and future Hall of Famer Roberto Luongo backstopped the Canadian side with 34 saves on 36 shots.
“It kind of caught everybody by surprise a little bit, how quick Sid got it off so quick off his stick. I just remember looking at the sky and having my arms up from my net all the way to the pile in the other corner,” Luongo told the Province.
It almost wasn’t so.
After Canada opened up 1-0 and 2-1 leads, the U.S. tied the game on a goalmouth scramble with less than 30 seconds left to play in the third period.
Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews was still a young buck at the time. He’s now a member of the Triple Gold Club, having won a Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal and World Championship gold medal. Just 22 during the Games, Toews went on to lead the Canadian side in scoring and was named Best Forward of the tournament. He also scored the game’s opening goal. He recalled the atmosphere in the room after Zach Parise tied the contest with less than a minute to play.
“The walk back to the locker room was tough. My head felt like it was moving pretty quick,” Toews told the Players’ Tribune. "There was maybe a few seconds of silence in there, but really I remember a bunch of guys going around the room, just saying, 'Boys, we’re alright here. We’re just going to get the next one. That’s it. Let’s go.’”
And go they did.