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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Smyth savours family's presence

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DAVOS, Switzerland -- Before Canada's rousing 5-0 win over HC Davos at the Spengler Cup earlier this week, captain Ryan Smyth got two important pieces of advice from his young family.

"I told him to bodycheck someone into the boards!" said his four-year-old son Alexander. Smyth's daughters, nine-year old Isabella and seven-year-old Elizabeth, told their daddy to score a goal.

Smyth did both, showing that family can be a motivating factor at the Spengler Cup.

"To have my family supporting me and being here is a true blessing," said Smyth. "Being a husband and a father is the best thing in the world ... and for Hockey Canada to bring them here and treat them so well, it's obviously very special."

The 25 Canadian players travelled to Davos, Switzerland for the tournament with an entourage of about 130 people. That includes wives, girlfriends, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, relatives and yes, even pets.

"Sometimes when you don't have a great game, to get back to your room and see your dog ... it helps," said forward Jason Williams. "He's there, he's happy, he's wagging his tail, he doesn't know what happens so yeah, it means a lot."

The Canadian team -- one of six sides in the Dec. 26-31 tournament -- is usually comprised of Canadian-born pros based in Switzerland along with players from other European leagues and the American Hockey League. The squad is deeper this year since several locked-out NHLers are playing overseas.

Canada will play HC Fribourg in the semifinals to after the Swiss team defeated Adler Mannheim 5-2 on Saturday to advance. Fribourg is boosted by NHL players like Max Talbot (Philadelphia Flyers), Patric Hornqvist (Nashville Predators), David Desharnais (Montreal Canadiens) and Cory Schneider (Vancouver Canucks).

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 30, 2012 B2

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