IOC probes women's hockey celebration
Hockey Canada apologizes for party on ice
The International Olympic Committee will investigate the behaviour of the Canadian women's hockey players who celebrated their gold medal at the Vancouver Games by drinking alcohol on the ice.
Several Canadian players returned to the ice surface at Canada Hockey Place roughly 30 minutes after their 2-0 win over the U.S. on Thursday night.
The players drank cans of beer and bottles of champagne, and smoked cigars with their gold medals draped around their necks.
Gilbert Felli, the IOC's executive director of the Olympic Games, said he wasn't aware of the celebration until informed by an Associated Press reporter.
"If that's the case, that is not good. It is not what we want to see," he said. "I don't think it's a good promotion of sport values. If they celebrate in the changing room, that's one thing, but not in public."
Felli said the IOC will talk to the International Ice Hockey Federation and the Canadian Olympic Committee to collect more information for the purposes of its investigation.
"We will investigate what happened. ... We will first find the facts and then act accordingly," he said.
Poulin under-age in B.C.
Among those drinking were Marie-Philip Poulin of Quebec City, the youngest player on Team Canada and its fourth-line centre, who scored twice in the first period. The 18-year-old Poulin turns 19 next month, but right now she would be under the legal drinking age in B.C.
Steve Keough, a spokesman for the Canadian Olympic Committee, said the COC had not provided the alcohol, nor instructed the players to celebrate on the ice.
"We condone celebrations. ... We don't condone actions of irresponsibility," Keough said. "I think Canadians understand it's quite an emotional moment for our team. It was not our intention to go against any IOC protocols."
In a statement released late Thursday, Hockey Canada apologized for the on-ice party.
"The members of Team Canada apologize if their on-ice celebrations, after fans had left the building, have offended anyone," the statement read.
"In the excitement of the moment, the celebration left the confines of our dressing room and shouldn't have. The team regrets that its gold-medal celebration may have caused the IOC or COC any embarrassment.
"Our players and team vow to uphold the values of the Olympics moving forward and view this situation as a learning experience."
Feb. 26, 2010