Just two hours after stepping off a plane in Montreal Monday, Anahim Lake’s Carey Price was mobbed by a throng of reporters — all hoping to catch a glimpse of the gold medal and Canada’s newest Olympic gold-medal goaltender.
A day after capturing gold over Sweden with Canada’s men’s Olympic hockey team and finishing the tournament with two shutouts, a perfect 5-0 record, a .59 goals against average and a 97.2 save percentage — a humble, modest Price simply said he was honoured to be part of such an opportunity.
“It was a complete effort from everybody,” Price told reporters at the Bell Centre in Montreal Monday, the home of his National Hockey League team, the Montreal Canadiens. “No matter what position the guys were put in, everybody contributed in some way, and I think that was probably the most special feeling. Everybody out on that ice when our anthem was played had a part in it in some way.”
Price opened the tournament leading Canada to a 3-1 win over Norway on Feb. 13, before Vancouver Canucks’ netminder Roberto Luongo stepped in to help the team to a 6-0 shutout over Austria on Feb. 14.
From there, however, the tournament was all Price as he and Team Canada posted wins over Finland on Feb. 16 (2-1, preliminaries), Latvia on Feb. 18 (2-1, quarterfinal), the U.S. on Feb. 21 (1-0, semifinal) and Sweden on Feb. 23 (3-0, final).
With back-to-back shutouts in the tournament Price now has the fourth-longest shutout streak in Olympic hockey history.
“That was essentially it [the way I approached the tournament],” he said. “The next save. It came down to getting prepared for each practice, getting prepared for pre-game skate, getting prepared for warmup, getting prepared for the game, and that philosophy is paying off.”
Following Sunday’s gold-medal presentation Price and his dad, also former goaltender Jerry Price, shared a moment backstage at the Bolshoy Ice Dome in Sochi, Russia, where Price proudly draped his newly-acquired gold-medal around his father’s neck. Jerry, Price’s mom Lynda, sister Kayla and wife, Angela, all made the trip to Russia to support him.
Earlier in the tournament, Price told reporters he feels truly blessed to be where he’s at.
“I obviously owe a lot of people a lot to get me where I’m at and I’m truly grateful for all the support,” he said, adding he’s thankful to his dad, who spent countless hours driving him, then eventually flying him in an airplane, to minor hockey practices and games in Williams Lake.
“My dad’s a quiet guy. He’s a man of few words, but he’s always been there for me. My mom, my sister and also my wife — everybody back home in Northern B.C. Everybody’s been so supportive my whole career.”
He added as a kid growing up he never imagined he’d be backstopping Team Canada to an Olympic gold.
“Coming from a small community I never dreamed I’d be in the position I got put in, and it reflects that no matter where you’re from, or how remote, or how far you feel from everything that anything is possible,” he said.
British Columbians, including dozens of Williams Lake residents, along with Mayor Kerry Cook and Coun. Danica Hughes who chose to watch the game in the Gibraltar Room, will likely always remember waking up at 4 a.m. to cheer on Price and Team Canada to a gold medal.