Disappointment, pride in Ste. Anne after women's Olympic hockey team shootout loss

Disappointment, pride in Ste. Anne after women's Olympic hockey team shootout loss

During the wee hours of Wednesday morning, there was shock and disbelief in Ste. Anne.

Then there was applause.

Several dozen people gathered at the Ste. Anne Curling Club to cheer on Team Canada hockey players Jocelyne Larocque, 29, and Bailey Bram, 27, who both hail from the Manitoba town about 40 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg, in the Olympic gold medal game.

"You know, Ste. Anne is a small town. It's miniscule in terms of the population of Canada, yet we represent 10 per cent of the team in Peyongchang, which is pretty amazing," said Larocque's uncle, Normal Larocque. 

Ste. Anne has a population of just over 2,000 people. Brigette Lacquette, 25, from tiny Mallard, Man., with just 150 people, was also on the team.

Things got tense at the club as Team U.S.A. tied the game in the third period, leading to a scoreless overtime and then a shootout.

When U.S.A.'s Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored the deciding goal and then Maddie Rooney kept the Canadian puck out of the net, the Ste. Anne crowd hung their heads. Some groaned. But one man in the back immediately began to clap. Soon, the rest joined in. 

"This is my sister's first Olympics," said Brock Bram. "Last Olympics she was the last cut, so it was a tough time. And she battled back and she didn't give up.

"It's unfortunate we lost the game, but Canada did amazing as usual and we're proud of the girls for bringing home the silver," said Ryan Bram, also Bailey's brother. "It's a good experience for my sister Bailey and Jocelyn Larocque as well and they did amazing."

Before the game, the crowd gathered with gold in their minds. All spoke of the women's determination and their pride in representing Manitoba and Team Canada.

"[It's a ] great turnout, actually. I wasn't expecting that," said Larocque's aunt Michelle Larocque. "It's late on a weeknight so it's great — lots of support. The girls were aware that we were having this get-together and they were very appreciative.

"We're disappointed for Jocelyne and for Bailey. It was a great game. It kept us on the tip of our chairs for sure, but it's still extremely disappointing."

Town Coun. Yvan St. Vincent said it's "phenomenal" that there are two Olympians from such a small town.

"It's surreal. I can't imagine what it's like for them," he said.

"It's been a great night — awesome to see so many people here and enjoying the night together and having a few drinks and cheering Canada on."

One thing the Ste. Anne crowd agreed on: "Well, the reffing's been pretty one-sided," Michelle Larocque said after the second period.

"The reffing's been terrible," St. Vincent said a few minutes later.