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Talk of the Games

The medal standings tell only part of the sports story of what's happening at the Games. For the rest, check out the latest dispatches from The Seattle Times' sports crew of columnists, reporters and producers.

February 17, 2010 at 3:03 PM

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How big is hockey in Canada?

Posted by Bob Condotta

About as big as a KISS concert is loud.

As Times columnist Steve Kelley neatly wrote today, the ultimate perception of whether the Games here are a success or failure may rest on whether Team Canada can win the gold medal in men's hockey.

Today comes a few TV numbers giving more evidence to just how avidly Canadians are following Team Canada.

A press release from CTV today noted that "nearly 9 million Canadians were cheering on Team Canada in the final minute of last night's Men's Hockey game vs. Norway.'' That's out of a total population of roughly 33 million, and this for a Tuesday afternoon first-round game that didn't feature much drama. (By comparison, the Super Bowl had 106.5 million U.S. viewers this year out of a population of roughly 304 million).

The hockey game drew an average of 6.2 million making it by far the most-watched event in Canada of these Olympics (and for those of you hating on NBC, CTV can neatly come up with such stats because every single event is on live on one of the network's platforms, making it possible to detail specific audiences for specific events).

Here's the list of the top five most-watched events in Canada so far:

1. 6.2 million Men's Hockey: CAN/NOR
2. 3.7 million Ladies' Snowboard Cross (Medal Round)
3. 2.1 million Ladies' Snowboard Cross (Qualification)
4. 2.08 million Figure Skating: Men's Short Program
5. 1.9 million Men's Curling: CAN/NOR
The snowboard cross was the event won by Canadian Maelle Ricker. And you'll note Canada's love of curling, as well.

Overall, CTV reports that "32 million Canadians have experienced Vancouver 2010 through Day 5 on the platforms of Canada's Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium, according to its CUME index, representing 95.4 percent of its population.''

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