Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Canada's juniors will succeed despite pundits

  • Print

Perhaps the naming Tuesday of the roster for the Canadian men's Olympic hockey team will manage the feat. At least it seemed to briefly change the channel for all the hockey pundits and armchair commentators locked in on what's allegedly wrong with Canada's national junior hockey team and program.

The setting of the latest roster for Olympic gold-seeking hockey males for this country seemed finally to produce a breather for the junior-hockey stakeholders who were unnecessarily on the defensive after another no-medal showing for Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship.

The Canadian junior program remains world-class. In fact, that was reinforced by how the club played in Sweden.

A single goal separated the club from playing in overtime for the bronze medal. And, the only other squad to defeat Canada in regulation -- at the world championship -- was the event's eventual winner, Finland.

Finland deserved to win, but also had all the bounces against Canada. So, the end result for Canada was losing out on a medal in the team's last game and coming fourth. That's not so bad, and no cause for such extended post-mortem efforts and quality-control triple-checks.

Hockey is an international sport. Canada continues to have immense depth of quality in terms of the number of skilled players it produces. But the world has closed the gap on being able to field terrific national teams for global competitions. That speaks to market forces and other issues beyond Canada's control.

So many of the hockey pundits suggesting corrections in the development, selection and training of Canada's juniors seem to overlook how narrowly Canada often "dominated" this tournament during an infamous recent five-year run of winning the event. They forget there were all sorts of games that goalies stole, bounces that went Canada's way, or miracle comebacks needed to appear head and shoulders above the world at this age level.

Canada has an elite junior program.

It's quite likely, in fact, the many younger stalwarts on this year's "failure" of a club will return and medal next year at the World Juniors. Expect the likes of Zachary Fucale, Connor McDavid and Anthony Mantha to excel in 2014 -- not because of all the hand-wringing about the quality of the national club and how it should be stewarded -- but in spite of it.

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 9, 2014 0

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart - Take It Easy

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Two Canada geese fly Wednesday afternoon at Oak Hammock Marsh- Front bird is banded for identification- Goose Challenge Day 3- - Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-(  Standup photo)-    A butterfly looks for nector on a lily Tuesday afternoon in Wolseley-JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- June 22, 2010

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Will higher pork prices change your grocery-shopping habits?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google