While the challenge to become the first nation to grab four consecutive gold medals in women’s hockey at the Winter Games brought with it a significant amount of pressure, the support of two of the most successful Canadian women to compete in bobsled supplied an inspiring and comforting source of motivation. A thoughtful hand-written letter to the women’s team not only brought with it a touch of class, but it captured the hearts and minds of Canadians from coast-to-coast.
Its legend only grew when famed Canadian hockey commentator Ron McLean showed the letter on CBC Television, prior to the broadcast of the gold medal finale.
As the Canadian national team held their Centralization Camp in Calgary, Alberta, the same city where many of the training facilities for Winter Sports athletes (such as Moyse and Humphries) exist, a friendship with the accomplished bobsledders developed prior to Sochi. With it, a mutual respect for the hard work and sacrifice needed to be considered the world’s finest bridged the two sports and its stars together.
With many elated players (along with their friends and family) expressing their gratitude on social media, the letter has somewhat taken a life of its own. The gesture of kindness and spirit of sportsmanship which signified their wondrous words put to paper has now become an important part of Canadian women’s hockey history.
Considering the end result in Sochi was a gold medal for Canada’s women, this letter is also worthy of recognition as one of most influential documents in recent Canadian sports history. Bearing in mind that the Canadian men defeated their American rivals in the semi-finals the day after, one can almost speculate that the women’s victory set the tone.
There can be no question that the letter was a key contributor, almost a catalyst, in helping Canada’s women believe they could accomplish their miraculous come-from-behind victory. With a status in Winter Games lore as legendary as the Lucky Loonie that ice maker Trent Evans buried in the ice at the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Games, the reality is that the letter deserves to be displayed in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
As there are some treasures in sport, whether it be a prized trophy, equipment such as a stick or jersey, or even a puck that simply deserve to be exhibited and shared for all to see. Even a bit of ephemera, such as the letter, deserves its place among the treasured relics in the sport of hockey, in which its lore and evolution is honored.
Perhaps more importantly, the letter signifies the sportsmanship and respect that exists among women in sport. As women continue to fight for sporting equality, the hearts of gold that Moyse and Humphries displayed on that fateful day in Sochi not only displayed strong leadership, it set a positive example for what women are capable of in sport when they believe. In effect, that is the true importance of the letter.