TORONTO – Gillian Apps has received an outpouring of support since she and her Canadian women’s hockey teammates captured gold at the Vancouver Games.
But the one message the veteran forward always remember came from the mom of a young girl. After one of Canada’s games, Apps spotted the small girl in the crowd and handed up her hockey stick as a gift to the young fan.
“I had a message come back from her mom saying that her daughter fell asleep with the stick in her bed that night and I think for me, it kind of brings it back,” Apps said. “I thought it was so cute, and I think sometimes we forget how much of an impact we can have on young kids, so that was special for me.”
The 26-year-old from Unionville, Ont., helped Canada capture gold in Vancouver with a 2-0 victory over arch-rival Americans in the thrilling Olympic final.
She joined women’s bobsled gold medallist Heather Moyse in a presentation of a collection of the Vancouver Games medals to the Hockey Hall of Fame on Friday.
Apps and Moyse came wearing their own gold medals, as a couple dozen fans touring the hall craned their necks to catch a glimpse of two of Canada’s Olympic heroes.
“The response from across the country has been amazing,” Apps said. “Just anyone who shares with me where they were when they watched the hockey games, or where they were when they watched skiing or bobsled, and just how the Olympics touched them.
“I think that’s kind of the special thing about it being in Canada is that it touched every Canadian in their own individual way.”
Moyse, from Summerside, P.E.I., captured the women’s bobsled gold with Kailie Humphries of Calgary, and said the opportunity to share some joy with Canadian fans meant more to her than anything.
“The best part about the medal is just. . . we would hear cheers and people randomly starting to randomly sing ‘O Canada’ in the middle of the streets, all of that excitement, that renewed patriotism,” Moyse said. “I think I just feel honoured that I was able to contribute to part of that, to help bring part of that excitement to Canada and that is the best part of the whole thing.”
The 31-year-old Moyse went home to P.E.I. after the Games, where she admitted she was a “bit of a hermit” for the first few days, suffering from jet lag and a serious lack of sleep.
Some 3,000 people turned out to a party in Summerside in her honour.
“It was autographs and pictures. . . that’s the surreal part. It’s just me, I’m home, I’m your neighbour, why do you want my autograph?
“It’s just good to be home where people have known me forever, those are the people that keep me grounded and it’s amazing. It was a phenomenal experience.”
Apps and Moyse helped Hockey Hall of Fame curator Phil Pritchard place the gold, silver and bronze medals in a display case. The Vancouver medals were added to the “Complete Olympic Medals Collection” currently on loan from the International Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.
There are also more than 40 artifacts from the Vancouver Olympic hockey tournaments, including everything from hockey pants to the nameplates on the lockers.
The medal collection remains on display until Sept. 7, and with the addition of the Vancouver medals now includes every medal from every winter and summer Olympic Games since 1896.