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THE WORLD STAGE

Chad Johnson is soaking up the atmosphere in Paris and Cologne while playing at the World Championship

by AARON VICKERS @AAVickers / CalgaryFlames.com

COLOGNE, Germany -- Chad Johnson hasn't seen a lot of rubber.

He's seen just about everything else, though.

Johnson, part of Team Canada's twine-tending tandem with Colorado Avalanche goalie Calvin Pickard, has taken in the sights of Paris and Cologne at the 2017 IIHF World Championship.

"There's so much in Paris," started Johnson, who has faced just 48 shots through three wins behind Canada's stingy defence in preliminary round action to help Canada clinch first place in Group A and secure a quarterfinal date against host Germany on Thursday

"We saw the Louvre … Notre Dame Cathedral … just experiencing the culture in Paris is great. Everyone's so friendly and there's always so much going on. On every corner of every street there's cafes and restaurants and it doesn't matter if it's a three-star or four-star or five-star, the food is just amazing. The bakeries are amazing. The bread is just amazing.

"And being here in Cologne getting to experience the festivals and the different cultures. It's been great. I can show my wife and her family the festivals and the Cathedral and it's amazing really, the whole environment.

"The closer you get the more you can even appreciate how big it is and how grand it really is and the detail. It's pretty incredible. It took forever to build and you know why. The detail is incredible. I'll try to get back in there and get inside and check it out. It's amazing."

"We've been trying to get out as much as possible when we have the opportunity."

The trip is a rare opportunity for Johnson to blend business and pleasure. He's sharing the tour with wife Alex, mother Karen, mother-in-law Rebecca and father-in-law Don.

Getting to share the experience is something the 30-year-old netminder has cherished.

"It's a lot of fun to be able to have everyone along for the trip," said Johnson, who also sports a 1.33 GAA and .917 save percentage in the tournament.

"You do a lot of these experiences on your own and you're far away from home and you get to see a lot of the world. Team Canada's done a great job of incorporating family. It's nice that our families can be around here too, to see us and spend some time with us and experience the culture here.

"It's just a great experience to have your family here."

Video: Johnson says it takes time to get over a series loss

Johnson was made available to Hockey Canada when Calgary was swept out of its Western Conference First Round series by the Anaheim Ducks.

He, and Alex, jumped at the chance to continue his season in Europe.

"Initially we had other plans," Johnson said. "It was definitely a last-minute decision to come. She was excited. She knew it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. To have the opportunity to be in Paris doesn't happen very often. It's a free trip in one sense. She was excited to be able to come over and experience being part of Team Canada.

"I think everybody wants to be in this situation if possible."

The situation is fun and games for Johnson.

Literally.

Fun away from the rink. Games at it.

"It's been great," Johnson said. "Being a part of Team Canada, the games are sometimes pretty interesting. It's been fun being a part of Team Canada and having that pressure. You expect to win. No one celebrates when you win. You just expect it. Everyone's looking for you to lose, so there's that added pressure being the Canadian goaltender. There's so much pressure to be at your best and be the best.

"It's been fun being a part of that."

And it's in that, that Johnson hopes to bring home a souvenir.

The only one he's willing to haul home from a three-week trip filled with lifelong memories.

A gold medal.

"That's why we're here," Johnson said. "We're not here just to be on a vacation. Myself, I came here because I wanted to be a part of a winning team and a gold medal team and help the team do that. That's the only reason I decided to come here … not because it's Paris in Germany.

"I want to be part of a gold medal team.

"The rest is just a bonus."

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