Originally created 03/09/02

Legend of Canadian loonie grows



TORONTO -- The Canadian coin buried in the ice where Canada won the gold medal at the Salt Lake City Olympics went on display Friday at the Hockey Hall of Fame - and saw its reputation grow even more.

As it turns out, the date on the Canadian loonie is 1987 - the year of Canada's most memorable international hockey win prior to the Winter Games. It was the year Canada beat the Soviet Union in the Canada Cup.

"I didn't know until looking at it today that it's a 1987 loonie," said Trent Evans, the Edmonton, Alberta, icemaker responsible for freezing the well-worn coin into the ice at the Salt Lake Ice Center.

The discovery was made Friday when the loonie was added to a Hockey Hall of Fame exhibit honoring the gold-medal winning Canadian men's and women's teams.

The Salt Lake loonie was placed between photos of the 2002 Canadian teams, and a hole in the display case allows visitors to touch the coin.

"On the money market, this loonie is worth 63 cents," said Hall of Fame curator Phil Pritchard. "To the hall and to hockey fans, it's worth its weight in gold."

Evans, supervisor of event operations at Edmonton's Skyreach Center, was hired by the Salt Lake Organizing Committee to handle the Olympic ice preparations.

To mark center ice, he placed a Canadian dime on the concrete floor before flooding began. Overnight, one-half inch of ice covered the dime, so Evans pulled a loonie from his pocket and placed it over the dime.

An American in the ice-making crew told tournament organizers, and Evans was ordered to use another marker. Evans scraped away some ice, applied a splotch of gold paint, and reflooded - with the loonie still in place.

"I probably told a dozen people within Team Canada, people I felt could be trusted with the secret," he said. "If they wanted to use that as motivation for the men's and women's teams, well, that was great."

What about the dime?

"I have the dime," said Evans. "It's in a safety deposit box back home."



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