On today’s date in 2006, Brad Gushue skipped Canada’s men’s curling team to its first-ever Olympic gold medal, defeating Finland 10-4 at the Winter Games in Torino, Italy.
Before the gold medal match, a “Lucky Loonie” was buried at each end of the ice where Gushue and the Canadian men’s curling team would win gold. The Lucky Loonie entered the Canadian consciousness after the men’s and women’s hockey teams won gold at the 2002 Winter Games.
As the now-legendary story goes, Olympic officials invited Dan Craig, ice-making consultant for the NHL, to oversee the arena where the hockey tournaments were held. Craig called a few of his crew members from back home in Edmonton, Alta. to help, and one of his assistants, Trent Evans, secretly placed a loonie at centre ice after realizing there was no target for referees to aim for when dropping the puck. Both the men’s and women’s hockey teams would eventually win gold atop the Lucky Loonie, and the coin soon became a piece of Canadian folklore. Canadians have since hidden loonies at several international competitions, including the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, where both hockey teams again won gold.
Since 2004, the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) has produced a Lucky Loonie for every Olympic Games as a symbol of good luck for Canada’s Olympic athletes.
“Canadians can wish our athletes luck by keeping this special coin produced by the Mint as well as create a lasting memory of Canada’s participation at the Games,” said former RCM president and CEO Ian Bennett.