Q: How does the pressure on you differ being executive director for Vancouver in 2010 as opposed to being a player in Salt Lake City in 2002? Jennifer Fong – Burnaby, BC
SY: I don’t think the pressure is any different. I had certain expectations a player, to win gold, to play my part, do my role well and help the team succeed. It’s the same thing in a management role. The goal is to the same, to win a gold medal. I will try to do my role well and contribute to us getting there. So really, nothing changes for me.
Q: There will undoubtedly be a lot of pressure on the men's team to win gold in Vancouver. Considering that fact, how much weight will you and your staff give to "intangible" qualities like leadership, the ability to thrive under pressure, and big game experience when picking players for the team? Meaghan Scanlon – Vancouver, BC
SY: I will put a lot of importance on those qualities, but I don’t know if I can measure exactly how much weight. The more times a player has been in pressure situations, and has done well, the better. And that would definitely help that player at an event like the Olympics. Whether they have gotten that experience at the junior level, the Olympic level or the playoffs, we will definitely put a lot of importance on those kinds of things. That being said, we are in a bit of a transition period, with lots of Canadian players with Olympic experience getting older, and a lot of young talented players in the NHL now. So I think we need to look to achieve a balance there.
Q: What are some of the ways in which the players will bond as a team before the first puck drops? Brant Finley – Belleville, ON
SY: We will have an orientation camp in August in Calgary, where we will bring players in for three or four days. We have a lot we want to get accomplished then. And one thing is for the guys to get to know each other. Get them to spend time together at the rink and away from the rink, to get to know each other. We don’t have much time in Vancouver, with us getting in a day and a half before our first game. So, particularly for the younger players, we want them to walk into the dressing room in Vancouver and know guys and feel comfortable. So that August camp will be really important, as it will really be the only time that we have for the players get to know each other before the competition.
Q: Aside from Team Canada's quest for gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics, what example should Team Canada extend to the nation's youth to continue its tradition of excellence in hockey, especially in view of today's world of socio-economic problems? Ron Friesen – Ottawa, ON
SY: Well, first of all, we want to win a gold medal. The whole country wants to. But I appreciate that there is a way to conduct yourself in this type of situation. I expect our players and staff to represent the country with pride, class and good sportsmanship. We are on a big stage and part of the whole Canadian team. Our young minor hockey players in Canada, who emulate NHL players, are going to watch every move we make, as I did when I was growing up. So I think it is very important that, win or lose, we conduct ourselves with class and good sportsmanship. I think this is very important for us to remember.
Q: Playing on home ice is usually considered an advantage. But could the added pressure of playing at home actually hurt Team Canada in Vancouver? Patricia MacDonald – Dominion, NS
SY: I think playing at home is always an advantage. The one thing that you can come up against, is that everything comes up so strong at the start – so much adrenalin – that you can expend a lot of energy at the beginning of a game and maybe run out of energy in the third period. It will be very important to manage that energy and that emotion early on. That’s where experience comes in. We will have players who have played at home, or in North America, at a World Juniors, a world championship, or during the NHL playoffs. We want to use that energy to spur us on but make sure at the same time that we are not burned out at the end of games.