wearing Canada’s red and white and Johan Sundstrom
donning Sweden’s yellow and blue. This year’s Islanders squad has been well-represented at past world juniors and took the time to reflect on their experiences.
The World Junior Hockey Championships are underway in Alberta, Canada. Two Islanders prospects are competing in the tournament this year,
John Tavares on winning gold with Canada in 2008 and 2009
|P.K. Subban, John Tavares and Tyler Ennis all of Team Canada stand arm in arm as they sing the Canadian National Anthem after defeating Team Sweden during the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championships held at Scotiabank Place on January 5, 2009 in Ottawa, Ontario. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images) |
Being from Canada, the World Junior Hockey Championships is a great tradition back home. It means a lot to people and it’s a lot of fun. I got to play one overseas and one in Canada and both were pretty special. It’s a big reason why I am here today and a big part of my development. It’s always great representing your country and especially in Canada, given what hockey means to Canadians.
A personal memory was: just winning and being a part of two gold medals. My first year we did it where we became the underdogs after the opening round. We scored a big goal in overtime to win the gold medal. That was pretty special and I think Jordan Eberle’s goal against Russia was a big goal, was kind of a big goal in Canadian history now. It really brought us back from the dead to keep us alive and give us a chance to win. Those two goals really stand out for me, which I got to see and be a part of.Travis Hamonic on winning a silver medal with Canada in 2010
Playing in the World Junior was a dream come true. Grow up in Canada, this time of the year there isn’t much else to do or watch but hockey. Obviously that tournament is pretty special in Canada so to have a chance to play in it at that point was my biggest accomplishment and something I’m very proud of today, to throw that jersey on.
|Kyle Okposo of Team USA White skates against Team Sweden during an exhibition game on August 7, 2007 at the 1980 Rink Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, New York. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images) |
I remember the first game of the tournament putting that jersey on, you get chills. I never had chills coming onto the rink before, but we were playing in Canada, in Saskatoon and the first time I stepped onto the ice, the rink was going nuts. The first five minutes of the game you couldn’t even hear the whistles being blown because the crowd was so loud. So that was a pretty special moment.Kyle Okposo on representing USA in 2007 and 2008, winning bronze in the first go-round
It was a fun experience. I wasn’t fortunate enough to win it, but it’s definitely a good time.
We had some tough games in 2007. We lost the [semi-finals] game, but the shootout against Canada was a big shootout a few years ago. That was definitely a fun game to play in, back and forth. It could have gone either way. That was definitely one of the best games I’ve played in. It was pretty crazy. There were a lot of Canadian fans there in Sweden. It was a great atmosphere. PA Parenteau on winning silver with Canada in 2003
It was great. It was in 2003, in Canada, in Halifax. It was a great experience, probably one of the best experiences of my life. We had a great group of guys, a great team. We lost to the Russians in the final, but it was still a really good experience. I learned a lot when I was there for two or three weeks. The atmosphere was crazy in Halifax, I remember it like it was yesterday, probably the time of my life when I was there.
I had a good tournament; I think I was second in scoring on the team. After the tournament, I signed my first pro contract with Anaheim, so it was definitely a real catalyst for my career when I played there.