NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The year was 1988. An English ski jumper by the name of Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards, along with the world-wide introduction of the Jamaican bobsled team, was the talk of the Winter Olympic games in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
A young 22-year-old Trent Yawney was the captain of the Canada hockey team where anything less than making the medal stand would mean disappointment for the host nation. Yawney says, “I remember there was a lot of pressure because they were in Canada and we were the Canadian team and expectations were really high.”
That 1988 Canadian team was full of amateurs. It was one of the last teams before professionals were allowed to represent their country. Yawney felt proud wearing the red and white of Canada. “You feel proud. It’s an honor to represent your country in anything especially in a sport where you are wearing the flag of your country. It’s a pretty cool feeling.”
Yawney is now the head coach of the Norfolk Admirals and he has a different appreciation for the Winter Olympics, an appreciation brought on by the passing of time. “When I sit and watch the Olympics now they have more meaning. They are put on such a big stage because they come around every four years. There’s no script for what’s gonna happen. There’s drama with all the events.”
And while Yawney admits he watches the Olympic hockey tournament very closely, he also is engrossed by the other sports that serve up human interest and spirit that only the Olympics can provide. “When I watch now I understand the meaning of the commitment the athletes put into training for one shot every four years and that all can be taken away in 100th of a second and then it’s back to the drawing board again. I know our team in ’88, we trained three years for a chance to medal and we did not, so it was very disappointing.”