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WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP - 27.05.23

Canada is off to the gold medal game while the USA will play for bronze

by CALGARY FLAMES STAFF @NHLFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

The 2023 IIHF World Championship semi-finals wrapped up on Saturday, with three Flames headed to the gold medal game.

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'IT'S WHAT WE CAME FOR'

Toffoli, Lucic and Weegar zero in on gold medal after punching ticket to championship with win over Latvia

by AARON VICKERS @AAVickers / Special to CalgaryFlames.com

TAMPERE, Finland - Gold or bust. 

That was the expectation coming into the 2023 IIHF World Championship in Finland and Latvia, and that'll remain the desired outcome rolling out of the tournament, according to Flames defenceman MacKenzie Weegar. 

There's only one approach when wearing the Maple Leaf, after all.  

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2023 DRAFT CLASS - ANDREW CRISTALL

Kelowna Rockets forward makes good on promise to 'dominate' games this year

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com

With the 2023 NHL Draft coming up next month, we're profiling some of the players that may be of interest to the Flames when they make their selection at 16th overall. In this edition, we take a closer look at forward Andrew Cristall of the Kelowna Rockets.

 

Height: 5'10" Weight: 167 lbs.
Position: Left Wing
Hometown: Vancouver, B.C.
Final Ranking: 15th (North American Skaters)

 

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This wasn't a case of establishing blasé goals purely for the sake of it.

Not a pipedream.

But a promise.

A guttural, cold-blooded vow to take this level by storm.

"I wanted to be the best player on the ice every game," Andrew Cristall said of his breakout season with the WHL's Kelowna Rockets. "Every shift I go out there, I wanted to make a difference. That was my expectation this year - to try and be dominant and be great every night.

"If I could do that and be consistent with it, those were my two goals for this year. That definitely helped keep me level-headed and focused, so that I always had something to be pushing towards.

"No matter how I played one game - no matter what I accomplished on the ice that night - there was always that 'next' game that I was pushing towards.

"I always wanted to be better."

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'I LOVE THESE GUYS'

Flames trio enters final weekend at the Worlds with a chance to win it all

by AARON VICKERS @AAVickers / Special to CalgaryFlames.com

TAMPERE, Finland - MacKenzie Weegar isn't looking for a silver lining to set off his summer.

He'd prefer a gold one.

And he's well on his way as one of three members of the Flames suiting up for a Team Canada squad that's launched itself into semifinal Saturday at the 2023 IIHF World Championship in Finland and Latvia.

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WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP - 25.05.23

Canada and the U.S. advance to semis at World Championship

by CALGARY FLAMES STAFF @NHLFlames / CalgaryFlames.com

Next stop: Semi-Final Saturday. 

Both Canada and the US are moving on at the IIHF World Hockey Championship after picking up victories in their quarter-final match-ups Thursday. 

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'IT'S A GOOD FEELING'

Coronato's goal helps undefeated USA roll into the semis

by AARON VICKERS @AAVickers / Special to CalgaryFlames.com

TAMPERE, Finland - Matt Coronato, admittedly, didn't call bank.

But you've got to be good to be lucky, the old adage goes.

And Coronato lived up to it, skipping a spin-around shot off that deflected off a pair of Czech defenders and across the goal line midway through the first period to help sail Team USA into semifinal action at the 2023 IIHF World Championship in Finland on Thursday.

Much to his delight.

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'HE'S AN INFECTIOUS GUY'

Weegar and Toffoli check in from the Worlds with their thoughts on Conroy

by AARON VICKERS @AAVickers / Special to CalgaryFlames.com

TAMPERE, Finland - The vote is unanimous.

And yes, the sample size is small. But not insignificant.

A pair of players are overwhelmingly in favour of having the newly appointed Craig Conroy guide the ship as general manager of the Flames.

A tone-setter of a hire.

"I think it's a great decision," declared defenceman MacKenzie Weegar from across the Atlantic, currently lacing 'em up for Canada at the 2023 IIHF World Championship in Finland and Latvia. "Obviously, I found out, and I think it's a great decision and a great move for the organization.

"I think he gets the game really well and he's an infectious guy.

"He wants to win, and he wants to have fun while doing it and I think that's really important for Calgary."

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'THIS IS HOME'

Conroy gets right to work as a crucial summer begins for the franchise

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com

Anyone can put their time in and meet the most basic threshold of 'evenings, weekends and holidays.'

But to get a true understanding of what separates Craig Conroy, you'd have to burrow deep in more than 12 years' worth of travel expenses.

Airfare. Hotels.

Long days and late nights on the road away from his family.

What the 51-year-old somehow crammed into a decade-plus of impeccable service could take twice that long for some of hockey's hardest-working executives. Conroy, though, has never done anything at half-speed.

It's all-in - or nothing at all.

"You always thought as a player, you're gone a lot and spend time away," Conroy said, looking out toward his wife, Jessie, and daughters, Taylor and Sydney. "But when you're on this (management) side, you're gone even more. It's amazing.

"But they've always been there and they know that this is my dream and it's only going to get busier from here.

"Sorry girls," he added through a smile and glossy eyes.

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2023 NHL DRAFT CLASS - RYAN LEONARD

U.S forward made it a goal of his to score 40 this year. He obliterated it

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com

With the 2023 NHL Draft coming up next month, we're profiling some of the players that may be of interest to the Flames when they make their selection at 16th overall. In this edition, we take a closer look at forward Ryan Leonard of the U.S. National Team Development Program

 

Height: 6'0" Weight: 192 lbs.
Position: Right Wing
Hometown: Northhampton, Mass., USA
Final Ranking: 5th (North American Skaters)

 

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When he arrived there in Michigan, 16, and fresh off a dynamite Triple-A campaign, Ryan Leonard knew he had a flair for lighting the lamp.

But when you assemble the best players in the country under one roof - as the esteemed U.S. National Team Development Program does - it became clear there was much more to learn.

About the game.

And himself.

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