With the World Junior Championships underway, present-day Islanders reflect on their past experiences at hockey’s biggest junior tournament. Read up on past tournament all-stars and medal winners in the second installment of this series. (
Anders Nilsson on winning a bronze medal with Sweden in 2010
It was a great experience. There were a lot of people watching the games and a lot of stuff going on around the team that year, things that we weren’t really used to. We were a little bit younger, but it was fun to play in.
I’m from Northern Sweden, so I’m used to the dark and cold, but that part of Canada was real cold. Flat, dark and freezing, but it was a great tournament.
|Jake Allen stops the puck in front of Nino Niederreiter during the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship Tournament Semifinal game on January 3, 2010 at the Credit Union Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images) |
I was the backup - we had (Jacob) Markstrom, he was the starting goalie for us. I didn’t play much, but it was fun to be a part of the team and to be around the whole tournament. We finished in third place, but obviously wanted to get to the final and were a little disappointed, but still third place is pretty decent.Nino Niederreiter on representing Switzerland in 2010 and 2011 and making the tournament’s All-Star team in 2010
The World Juniors helped me a lot in my draft year. If I didn’t have a good tournament like I had there, I wouldn’t be where I am now.
It’s just amazing, even to see. I had my first one in Canada and second one in Buffalo. The crowd’s were just incredible. You know how big those tournaments are for Canada or even the USA and it’s great to see and it’s always a great atmosphere in the arena.
The game against Russia is a game I’ll never forget. We won 3-2 and that was definitely the greatest game I’ve probably ever been a part of.Brian Rolston on representing the US in 1991, 92, 93 and winning a bronze in ‘92
Obviously any time you play for your country it’s a great thing. It’s an honor and to be selected amongst the best in the world at that age is always exciting. I was lucky enough to have played three times in the world juniors and to win a bronze medal. I was very lucky to have that experience as kind of a stepping stone to the next step.
Obviously playing Canada, that’s a big rivalry. I scored against them and we beat them 5-3. They had a powerhouse team that year and that’s the year we won the bronze (1992), so it’s real exciting and it’s a lot of fun to watch these kids. Rick DiPietro on representing the US in 1999, 2000 and 2001
It’s amazing, one of the best times in my life. At that time, I had the opportunity to play with a lot of friends I made at the US program and to share that experience with them. We were a really competitive team with some unfortunate circumstances, but obviously it’s a time that I’ll never forget.
|USA Goaltender Rick Dipietro takes a breather during the IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship Third place play-off match between Sweden and the USA played at the Preussag Arena in Hannover, Germany. (Photo by: Stuart Franklin /Allsport) |
The first year I went, that first tournament, it was special. Personally, it was a pretty successful tournament. That’s one I’ll definitely remember. (DiPietro was named the Most Outstanding Goaltender at the ’99 tournament.)Marty Reasoner on representing the US in 1996 and winning a silver in 1997
My first year we were in Boston, it was a little bit disappointing because we didn’t do as well as we had hoped. But my second year was fun. We were in Switzerland and we had a good team, but lost in the final to Canada. At the time, it was hard to take, but looking back it was a good memory and fun experience.
The games against Canada are always big. And playing in the gold medal game, which was the first time since 1992 that a US team had gotten a medal and played for the gold. It was a really fun experience and you look back now. I didn’t realize at the time, but what an impact it had. It was fun, a little disappointing, but a good experience as a player being able to play at that level at that stage. It was definitely something I look back upon as a fond memory.