The Winter Olympics come around only once every four years. But how often is it that a hockey franchise sends nine of their own to compete for the coveted gold medal (an NHL record, by the way)?
And how often do seven of those nine come back with Olympic medals (also an NHL record!)?
Heck, this is history in the making!
Yours truly was lucky enough to be off work today and able to attend the live taping of "The Element" which would feature interviews and photography opportunities with our seven medalists.
Setting up the stage before the big show
Attendance was small at first, limited to the diehards that were probably there hours beforehand to claim the best seats. The boys were at the Ponda for the group photo shoot prior to this engagement, and it wasn't until about half past noon that things got started.
By that time, seating was all but taken. However, yours truly has found that standing is the best way to take pictures. Jonas Hiller, now world reknowned for his amazing performance at the Olympics, came out first.
I feel bad that Jonas Hiller is the only medal-less Duck
Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu were interviewed next, winning their contest against Slovakia and nabbing the bronze
The interviews themselves were difficult to hear, but fans can catch every word on the Ducks website once the taping is posted.
After trading Ryan Whitney to the Edmonton Oilers, Bobby Ryan remains the only American-born Duck in franchise history to be an Olympian
Lastly, gold medalists Corey Perry, Captain Scott Niedermayer, and Ryan Getzlaf
Take a bow, boys. You've made your countries, and your Duck fans, extremely proud!
After the group picture, the entire place turned into a veritable zoo. People who had no idea what hockey is, but who just happened to see the roped-off areas, gathered to see what the spectacle was all about. Even amongst the chaos, our hometown heroes stayed to sign autographs and pose for pictures.
Bobby indulging the fans
Captain Canada tolerating them too
Overall, a wonderful event and opportunity to showcase hockey in Southern California. The sport has a long way to go in this corner of the globe, undoubtedly, but the incredible displays of athletic skill and talent by our hometown heroes at the Winter Games have piqued the interest of the non-hockey community.
And that's where it all begins.
"The biggest thing is just his poise and his hands are unbelievable. I played with [Evgeni] Malkin and [Sidney] Crosby, and those guys are probably the two best in the league. Bobby's hands are right with those guys... He's a superstar in the making, it seems."
---Ryan Whitney, former Ducks defenseman