Red, white, blue and… Gold

Having solid talent on your rosters is obviously a very important thing in sports but the lack of talent doesn’t mean a team can be short of success and championships.

Year in and year out the IIHF WJC accepts that the most elite 18 and 19-year-old athletes are playing with NHL teams.

Take a look at the roster USA Hockey sent to the 2017 World Junior Championships, pure secondary prospects, not to take anything away from the boys who earned gold. Yes, talented, skilled and very well conditioned.

It’s not every year the NHL Entry Draft can be loaded with raw talent studs like Matthews and McDavid but that didn’t stop Canada from having 10 first round draft picks. 2 of these picks were taken in the top ten lottery. The U.S had one top ten picks and a total of 6 first round choices.

Troy Terry delivered his fourth shootout goal of the 2017 tournament in a ferocious, nail-biting gold medal final. I would have to say it beyond mediocre, actually brutal when a hockey game of this magnitude is decided by a skills competition.

From political misunderstandings and misconceptions about each other true characters, the rivalry between Canada and the United States of America is surely unmatchable at any level in the hockey universe. It doesn’t take much from either side to get under the other’s skin and have a level of intensity that we could not begin to fathom. Canadian junior superstar Julien Gauthier didn’t waste any time in getting into the grill of all American monster forward Jordan Greenway. As the squads took centre for puck drop Gauthier threw Greenway an early chirp and a strong cross-check. Welcome to the gold medal game.

U.S.A dominated their group matches and skated to the medal round with a secure 6-0 record. Canada dropped a round robin match to the Americans and had their work cut out for them heading into the final.

This Canadian roster won’t hound you with rush chances and keep you entertained with amazing plays, not to say there weren’t any flashes from the young ‘nucks.

Coach Ducharme stated his boys played like Canadians play. The put on a gruelling and dedicated display of hockey against the Swedes in the semifinal stages.

Americans also have a way of dominantly and efficiently of getting things done too.

With Canada drawing blood first, they saw a 2-0 lead heading into the second. Jeremy Lauzon and Thomas Chabot put the Canadians on the board with the pair of goals.

Going into the second frame Kiefer Bellows and Charlie McCoy put two in the back of the net for the Americans.

The third-period action saw the Quebecers Mathieu Joseph and Nicolas Roy beat Parsons twice. Joseph sniped on a breakaway and Roy on the power play. Within 24 seconds of Canada’s goals, Bellows beat Hart for his second of the contest and two minutes after that Colin White tangled the twine to tie the game at 4 goals apiece.

All the pressure now was on the shoulders of Colin Parsons for America and Carter Hart for Canada. Hart was tremendous in the semi-final. Attack after attack, rush after rush Tyler Parsons stayed strong for the Americans to will them to overtime and helped the U.S earn a WJC gold medal on Canadian soil.

Even with low attendance numbers for the tournament, the Bell Centre was anything but short of noise, support and dedicated fans packed the seats and brought the noise. In the end, it was a fun-filled and high-energy event.

The biggest issue among fans, coaches and even Zurich dentist René Fasel, a top executive with IIHF, was the high ticket prices. High demand saw numerous complaints via social networking. But it’s all about the bucks.

Fasel did state that USA Hockey and Hockey Canada among all member federations, sponsors, investors and sponsors made a large profit from this year’s World Junior Championship.

Russia outlasted the Swedes 2-1 in the bronze medal. Even though it wasn’t their medal colour of preference, they didn’t hesitate to celebrate loudly in their locker room.

Mikhail Sergachev, Canadiens draft pick who plays in the Bell Centre for his NHL games got to experience the world juniors atmosphere in his team’s arena. Very happy to have earned a medal and just to be on the podium, Sergachev was happy to have the Montreal fans cheer for him while representing his home and native land Sweden and while he dawns on his Habs jersey.


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