The two governing bodies concluded that the U.S. players did not desecrate a Canadian flag prior to Canada’s 3-2 victory over the U.S.
The report did not identify the source of the rumor.
“The U.S. Olympic Women’s Team players and staff, as well as the entire USA Hockey organization, would like to make it clear that—contrary to reported accusations—there were no acts of disrespect committed against the Canadian flag by our athletes at any time,” said USA Hockey Executive Director Doug Palazzari. “Following an investigation by both organizations this is a case of false information being circulated by an unidentified third party.”
The rumors were first made public by Canadian MVP Hayley Wickenheiser in a CBC postgame interview.
“I hear they had our flag on their dressing room floor,” Wickenheiser said. “I wonder if they’d like us to sign it.”
Harvard’s Angela Ruggiero ’02-’04 and incoming Harvard freshman Julie Chu ’06 were among those U.S. players offering vehement denials that the incident ever took place.
“I can’t imagine something like that taking place,” Chu told the New York Post. “We wouldn’t disrespect another nation’s flag just as we hope no one would disrespect our flag.”
Canadian Hockey Association President Bob Nicholson did his best to patch the discord created by the controversy with a message of unity.
“Canada’s National Women’s Team has the utmost respect and admiration for our rivals from the U.S.,” he said. “We congratulate the U.S. team on a tremendous season and look forward to continuing our great relationship with U.S. hockey.”