September 08, 2008
So at what point during an 82-0 loss in a women's ice hockey game do you turn to your buddy and say, "C'mon, finish your popcorn and let's beat the traffic?"
Because Slovakia led Bulgaria 31-0 after the first period (.pdf) of their 2010 Winter Olympics women's ice hockey qualifier over the weekend in the Latvian town of Liepaja. After two periods, they led 55-0. If you're Bulgarian and still in the arena during the third period, chances are you're either one of the players or someone who also refuses to leave the worst movie ever made because you paid "good money" for the ticket.
The 82-0 defeat capped what may have been the most pathetic tournament appearance in international hockey history.
Bulgaria lost to Italy (41-0) and Latvia (39-0), and it followed its 82-0 loss with a 30-1 defeat to Croatia (who obviously must address its defensive shortcomings before Vancouver in 2010). In total, Bulgaria's women's ice hockey team surrendered more goals in four games (192) than the Detroit Red Wings did in 82 games last season (184).
Down 77-0 with three minutes to go, Bulgaria put in its backup goaltender, who promptly let in another five goals on five shots in just 1:25 of playing time. The game's final shots on goal were 139-0. Slovakia had 12 players record hat tricks, including one 10-goal scorer, one nine-goal scorer and four others with eight.
Mirtle also points to this story from a Bulgarian media outlet that actually stands up for the women's team and takes the government to task:
The embarrassment, however, ought to be directed towards the Bulgarian Government rather than the ladies. With a population of 7.4 million, only three indoor ice rings in the country and only 37 registered female players, Bulgaria could have hardly hoped for a successful run in the competition, although this ruthless and systematic destruction was nothing short of a national embarrassment.
While some believed the 82-0 defeat could have been the worst loss in ice hockey history, Eric McErlain of FanHouse writes that it's not even the worst loss in women's hockey history -- that would be a 1998 game in which South Korea barely survived a scare against Thailand, 92-0. Still, Bulgaria's 82-0 defeat set an IIHF record.
The chair of the Bulgarian Hockey Federation is calling Slovakia's 82-goal win "a kind-of an insulting mockery" that's "not at all sportsmanlike." We're counting down the moments until he lashes out at the glib reaction of the international sports media, which refuses to acknowledge goalie Liubomira Shosheva's amazing 57-save performance. Considering, you know, she faced 134 shots in 56 minutes.