Seth Jones is a defenseman for the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound defenseman has solid athletic bloodlines -- his father, Popeye Jones, played 11 seasons in the NBA. Jones excelled the last two seasons for the U.S. National Team Development Program and won a gold medal with the United States at the 2013 World Junior Championship. Jones has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the 2013 NHL Draft.
I've won a couple other tournaments, and under-18 golds, but right now, with this gold medal, it's the greatest feeling in my life right now. Nothing compares. The U-18 golds are good, but this is unbelievable.
We stayed off the ice yesterday. Coach Housley asked Jake McCabe, our captain, if he thought we needed a practice and he said we needed more rest. So we stayed off the ice yesterday and being this deep in the tournament, I think that really helped with our legs. We had an optional skate this morning, but I stayed off the ice then, too.
No one was tight or nervous today. But the biggest thing I noticed was there was never any selfishness around the team. It was the first time I'd ever seen that. This was the best team I've ever seen. We were together the whole time.
Before the game, Phil talked about being patient. We knew Sweden was a great puck-possession team, but when they gave you opportunities, you had to take them.
Even after they scored, we never really got nervous. After they scored, we came out firing and got two more after that.
I'm so happy it was Rocco Grimaldi who got the goals. He went through a tough time in the tournament. He had to search for his role. But we couldn't have won this tournament without him. I couldn't be any happier for Rocco.
Getting to the end, when Vince Trocheck scored at the end, I was jumping up and down on the ice and screaming. It was probably the loudest I've ever screamed in my life. I looked over at the bench and everyone was jumping around and hugging each other. It was unbelievable.
When the game ended and we started passing around the trophy, that was awesome. We played a phenomenal tournament together as a team. Getting that trophy was something else. Knowing you're the best team in the world -- there's nothing better than that.
Before the tournament started, I had said in the media that I thought we were the team to beat. It probably wasn't the smartest thing to say. I didn't really care that much, but I ran my mouth a little bit and if we lost I would have learned my lesson. We won and I still learned my lesson. I'm just thankful John Gibson made me look smart.
Standing on the blue line, singing the national anthem with the guys, it was a great moment. I got to know every single guy on that team the last couple years, most through the U.S. NTDP program. To sing that anthem with that group of guys, knowing it was probably the last time we'll all be together as a group, doing that was just phenomenal.
Follow Seth Jones on Twitter: @seth_jones04
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