Jen Zimmer (left) and her mother Heidi Howarth sit in a sea of Canada flags during the gold medal match between Canada and Sweden at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi on Sunday. (SUBMITTED)
Brandon’s Jen Zimmer poses for a photo with a couple of Sweden fans in front of the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi, Russia, where Canada defeated Sweden 3-0 to claim the gold medal in men’s hockey on Sunday. (SUBMITTED)
While Brandon’s revellers were cheering from local watering holes, two local women saw Canada’s gold-medal men’s hockey win over Sweden firsthand.
High in the stands of the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi, Russia, stood Brandon’s Heidi Howarth and daughter Jen Zimmer among a crowd of confident Canadian fans who witnessed the country’s second Olympic gold-medal hockey victory of 2014.
While Heidi said it wasn’t as dramatic as the womens’ hockey win on Thursday, more than half of the roughly 11,000 fans were cheering for the red and white on Sunday.
As Canadians, Howarth and Zimmer were treated like stars and Howarth said about 50 people took photos of them following the 3-0 win.
"The Russians really love Canada," Heidi said via FaceTime from her room in Sochi, her face and her cheeks marked with maple leaves. "We had so many people come up to us, congratulating us."
The Brandon duo must have been good luck for Canada because they witnessed four gold-medal wins — men’s and women’s hockey, as well as men’s and women’s curling.
The two landed in Sochi last week and were able to swap and purchase tickets to all the right games. Howarth said the men’s games weren’t sold out.
A Facebook site for Canadians in Sochi was an easy way to keep in contact with fellow Canucks and find tickets, she added.
The highlight for Howarth was the women’s monumental comeback against the United States in which Canada tied the game in the last minute before winning 3-2 in overtime.
Brandon’s corespondents in Sochi had front-row tickets to that show.
"It was incredible, it was pretty intense," Howarth said. "It was really tense, they were both playing really well.
"Lots of screaming, lots of cheering, people just didn’t believe it. What a great feeling."
Howarth explained there were cheerleaders at all the hockey games and chanted in Russian to score more goals.
"It got everyone going," she said. "Russians love to see goals."
Zimmer sent a video back home with greetings from Hayley Wickenheiser and Rebecca Johnston of Canada's gold-winning women’s hockey team to Meadows School and Killarney School.
Howarth said she’s been hearing from long-time Olympic spectators that Sochi was even better than the 2010 Vancouver Games because all the venues were so close together.
"The Russians were really, really hospitable, the venues were fantastic," she said.
The two are set to return to Canada early this week.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 24, 2014