On board the aircraft, Stephen Harper delivered the news to passengers himself.
The Canadian delegation was winging its way home from a summit meeting in Mexico and was likely just leaving U.S. airspace when Harper's disembodied voice cracked over the public address system at about 3 p.m. ET.
Harper joked that he was taking over the plane before he delivered the news of how the women's team came from behind for a dramatic 3-2 overtime victory over their American rivals in the Olympic final.
A burst of applause rang through the cabin.
"It was a great victory," said the hockey-loving prime minister. "President Obama, I'll be looking forward to my beer."
Harper had wagered U.S. President Barack Obama a case of beer on the game; another one is on the line Friday as the Canadian men face their American counterparts in a semifinal matchup.
Twitter exploded with Canadian euphoria — and no small measure of social-media sarcasm — at news of the win.
"What a game!" tweeted Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall. "Saskatchewan's @wick_22 & the Canadian Women's Hockey team are golden!!!"
Added television talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres: "My staff was glued to the Olympic hockey game. Congratulations, Canadians! You gave an epic performance."
"This just proves that universal health care trumps no health care," joked one Twitter user. "This means Canadians get the rest of the day off, right?" added another.
The Canadian Olympic Team tweeted a photo of the empty net where a last-ditch attempt at a U.S. game-winner bounced off the goalpost in the dying seconds of the third period.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we present the most popular goalpost in Canada," the tweet read. Indeed, it didn't take long for someone to set the post up with its own website at sochigoalpost.com.
It features nothing more than a picture of an empty net with the words: "Dear Canada: you're welcome."
Obama joked earlier this week that the goodwill between the two countries would be temporarily in short supply.
"My brother-in-law is Canadian, so you know I have to like Canadians," Obama joked during the meeting with Harper and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto,
"For a very brief period of time, I may not feel as warm towards Canadians as I normally do — at least until those matches are over."
Even in the president's own neighbourhood, there were people cheering for Canada.
Just down the street from the White House, along Pennsylvania Avenue, the Canadian embassy hosted a hockey-watching party Thursday as it often does for high-profile Canada-U.S. games.
Following two American goals, some discouraged diplomats headed back upstairs to their desks. But by game's end a number had returned to the TV room to celebrate the dramatic comeback.
There were cheers in the embassy offices, while people in the viewing room jumped up and down in the kind of spontaneous joy that only an overtime goal can unleash.
One American in the audience shared a hug with a Canadian counterpart after the final goal, followed by a sportsmanlike handshake.
She expressed hope for payback in the men's game.
"I'll be back tomorrow," said Desiree Filippone, an official with the U.S. Oympic Committee.
"(I'll be) cheering on my team and hoping for the gold there."
There was some good-natured ribbing during the game, given the mixed allegiances of the crowd.
Even the embassy's deputy head of mission allowed himself to engage in the kind of taunting that he, as a high-ranking diplomat, would usually avoid.
"After 200 years of peace between our two countries," Denis Stevens said to laughs, "we're going to agree to suspend that for a couple of days."
Comfort food was on offer — because Americans were going to be needing a little bit of comfort, Stevens joked, drawing groans from the Americans in the crowd.
The crowd was served all the customary bits of Canadiana, from Tim Hortons to BeaverTails pastries to pizza from local Canadian chef Spike Mendelsohn.
They were given a pair of red Canada mittens as they left. Some of the Canadian companies helped shoulder the bill for the event.
"The government of Canada recognizes that the Olympics gives us a wonderful opportunity to practice sports diplomacy," said embassy spokeswoman Christine Constantin.
"We may be friends, allies, neighbours, partners, but we're competitors on the ice."
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version had an incorrect spelling for Denis Stevens's surname.
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