VANCOUVER (AP) -- Party on, Wayne!
Wayne Gretzky, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, actor Michael J. Fox and several members of the star-packed men's hockey team joined 17,000 other roaring Canadians in cheering on Canada's women to Olympic gold Thursday night.
"I'm very proud, very honored, to be Canadian," tournament MVP Meghan Agosta said when asked about the scene.
An already raucous, sea-of-red crowd loved it when Gretzky, with wife, Janet, and Harper flanking him, was shown in attendance in the third deck. The noise spiked again when the arena's video board showed Fox late in the third period of Canada's 2-0 victory over the United States in the final.
Fox, who grew up in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, acknowledged the cheers. Then he rose from his skybox seat and pulled the chest of his gray, Canada T-shirt from under his sport coat. The crowd roared some more.
The 48-year-old Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1991. His former high school, Burnaby South, had a new theater built and named it "Michael J. Fox Theatre." He has been seen on television advertisements in the U.S. during the Vancouver Games promoting tourism in British Columbia.
The men's hockey team had come to Canada Hockey Place for media availability following their one day of preparation before Friday's semifinal game against Slovakia. Many stayed, upstairs in a skybox, for a taut, raucous third period, celebrating the third consecutive Olympic gold medal for Canada's women.
After the final horn sounded, fans threw Canadian flags out of the stands. The players were careful to catch them respectfully, then paraded them around the ice. One flag had a gold maple leaf in the middle instead of a red one. The two young sons of defenseman Becky Kellar came down on the ice to be with Mom for a tearful medals ceremony.
The home crowd even roared when the disappointed, archrival Americans received their silver medals.
On the way out, buzzing fans were handed gold cans of soda to commemorate what Canada hopes -- no, expects -- is the first of two gold-medal hockey performances in the coming days.