The most wonderful time of the year
It’s winter, winter means Christmas, Christmas means worlds juniors
For hockey fans, Santa’s arrival isn’t the only highlight during the holiday break.
On Dec. 26, more commonly known as Boxing Day, the IIHF world junior ice hockey championships kicks off its 2011-12 tournament in Calgary and Edmonton. Nothing is more exciting than watching Canada play our neighbours south of the border. This year, Canada faces off against the United States on New Years Eve, in what will promisingly be the highlighted game of the round robin. To allow Team Canada fans to forget about last year’s disastrous loss to the Russians, here are five of Canada’s most unforgettable moments at the World Juniors.
An undefeated shellacking
Team Canada’s 2005 world junior team was arguably the most talented group in recent years. The roster consisted of Brent Seabrook, Dion Phaneuf, Shea Weber, Jeff Carter, Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Mike Richards, Andrew Ladd, Corey Perry, Patrice Bergeron, and many more future NHL stars. It should come as no surprise that this loaded team went undefeated during the NHL’s lockout year. Patrice Bergeron was the tournament’s leading scorer with five goals, eight assists, and 13 points. Close behind him was Regina native Ryan Getzlaf, who tallied three goals, nine assists, and 12 points. Canada defeated Russia 6-1 to capture the gold medal.
A homecoming milestone
Although Canada didn’t go undefeated during the 1991 world junior ice hockey championships, it did achieve a milestone for the first time in Canadian history. With Saskatoon as the host city, Canada went 5-1-1 during the round-robin matches and defeated the Soviet Union 3-2 in the gold-medal game to capture the first gold medal on Canadian soil.
'Can you believe it?’
On Jan. 3, 2009, Canadian residents watching the world juniors heard TSN’s Gord Miller say those unforgettable words, “Can you believe it?” Fans rejoiced all over the nation as Team Canada’s forward Jordan Eberle scored the game-tying goal against Russia with 5.4 seconds left in the game. Eberle had already scored a power-play goal earlier in the game, and then went on to tally the game winner in the shootout over the Russians. Canada defeated Sweden in the gold medal game 5-1 to capture its 15th title.
It feels like the first time
It’s hard to ignore the importance of the first gold medal in Canadian world junior history. Team Canada won its first gold medal on Jan. 2, 1982, after defeating Czechoslovakia. The 1982 tournament took place in various cities across the state of Minnesota; U.S. Games were also played in Manitoba and Ontario. Canada defeated the United States 5-4 in its only match-up of the entire tournament. Canada’s leading scorer, Mike Moller, finished fourth in the tournament in scoring with five goals, and nine assists, totaling 14 points. Prior to the tournament, Moller was drafted 41st overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1980 NHL Entry draft.
Captain serious carries Canada
Jan. 3, 2007 featured a one-man show from Canadian ice hockey player Jonathan Toews. Team Canada was facing off against its border rivals, the United States, in one of the tournament’s semifinal games. The game went into a shootout after the teams were deadlocked 1-1. Toews shot and scored three times in the shootout to lead Canada to a 2-1 victory. Along with Toews’ outstanding one-man effort, Canada’s goaltender Carey Price was named the tournament most valuable player after posting an astonishing goals-against average of 1.14. Canada won its 13th gold medal after defeating the Russians 4-2.