Stan Butler's Diary

DAY TEN, MOSCOW - Jan. 4, 2001
Day off

First of all, I gotta tell you, I didn't sleep very well last night. When I got up it finally sort of sunk in - we had lost the opportunity to win a gold medal. Particularly, I thought about the fact that you only get to coach this team once; and I had missed the chance to win. That's tough for a guy like me. I'm competitive.

I'll let you in on something: before I became a coach in the Ontario Hockey League, I didn't even really know what it was like to lose. I won five consecutive Tier two championships in Ontario as a coach. Who knows, maybe I didn't appreciate it as much as I should of. Anyway, when you get into a position like this and you're a competitive person like I am... it's pretty tough to swallow.

I met with our captains today. They are all guys who, like me, will never get another chance to win a gold medal at this tournament. I asked them whether or not we should practice today or maybe just take a day off. They said, without question, that we should practice. So, you know what? We had the classic Canadian practice. We played shinny.

The we went over to the hotel where the parents were staying and the guys who had parents here spent some time with them. We just sort of hung out and had a few laughs and then had a really nice meal.

To close out the day we had a team meeting. I talked to the guys about what's important to you in life. I've been around a few more years than they have and I wanted to stress to them that, what may seem to be something not all that valuable right now can turn out later in life to be something very precious. In short: I know that a bronze medal seems like a consolation prize when you came here to win gold. But, in five or ten years you won't remember losing the gold medal - you'll remember winning the bronze. If we win that game tomorrow we'll be the only country to have won a medal in each of the last three years at this tournament. THE ONLY COUNTRY. So, please, tell me again how our national program is a failure.

Me, the other coaches and staff, aren't hiding from this. We've done the best job we could. If you think we haven't , than answer this question for me: How do you tell 22 kids who've given everything they have, and lost a one game sudden death playoff game in which they out chanced and out played their opponents, that they're failures? The answer is that you don't, and I never would. It just wouldn't be Canadian.

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André Brin Director, Communications | Directeur, communications