The 2004 women’s worlds was shared with Dartmouth, N.S., although Team Canada played exclusively in Halifax.
The event set all-time attendance records, attracting over 94,000 fans to 20 games. It smashed the previous record from the 1997 tournament in Kitchener, Ont., by nearly 30,000 and the gold medal game between Canada and the United States was played before a packed crowd at the 10,595-seat Metro Centre.
“I remember it being an incredible atmosphere,” says Botterill, who led the tournament in scoring with three goals and 11 points in five games and was named MVP.
They were so engaged in the game. We were in the locker room underneath the stands and you could literally hear them clapping their hands and stomping their feet. It was five minutes before we hit the ice. The crowd was so involved.”
In a tightly-contested final, Team Canada prevailed 2-0 over the Americans. Hayley Wickenheiser and defenceman Delaney Collins scored the goals and goaltender Kim St. Pierre recorded a 26-save shutout as the Canadians captured an eighth-consecutive gold medal.
The golden win was especially significant as it was a bounce-back victory following an unprecedented loss.
Entering the event, the Canadians had never lost in world championship play. They stretched their unblemished record to 37-0 before a 3-1 setback to the Americans in their third game.
The undefeated run for Canada stretched 14 years; it began with the inaugural 1990 IIHF World Women’s Championship in Ottawa and lasted until the evening of April 3, 2004.
“That record was pretty impressive,” says Hefford, who was selected as a tournament all-star and finished second in scoring with seven goals and 10 points in five games.
“You always know it was going to end at some point, but it was a wakeup call. We knew it was not going to be easy. Good thing it ended in the round-robin and not in the gold medal game."