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Jets World Junior Memories

by Staff Writer / Winnipeg Jets

A total of 13 Winnipeg Jets have represented their countries at the IIHL World Junior Championship. Each with their own special memory.

Evander Kane played for Team Canada at the 2009 WJC in Ottawa, defeating Sweden 5-1 in the finals, taking home the Gold Medal.

That 2009 Gold Medal was the last in a string of five consecutive for Team Canada, and the most recent Gold Medal victory for the Canadian squad.

Jim Slater played for Team USA at the 2002 WJC held in Prague, Czech Republic. USA lost in the quarterfinal game against Russia.

"If you play in that tournament, you definitely have a long way to go, but it's definitely a stepping stone to the NHL. It's an experience I'll take with me for the rest of my career."

Tobias Enstrom represented Team Sweden at the 2003 WJC in Hallifax and at the 2004 WJC in Helsinki, Finland.

"My first year was great in Halifax. It was good to see what Canada was all about and meet all of those great players and see the crowds. Everybody growing up wants to be on the national team. It is an honour to wear that jersey."

Alexander Burmistrov played for Russia at the 2010 WJC in Saskatoon and Regina.

"It is a great tournament, but not for our team as we lost to Switzerland in the quarterfinals. But it was a great experience to be in that tournament and to play against the top 20 guys of each country. It's pretty amazing when you can put on the jersey and defend your country."

Ondrej Pavelec represented Czech Republic at the 2006 WJC hosted by Leksand and Mora, Sweden. Czech Republic lost to Sweden 5-1 in the quarterfinal game.

"When you're younger watching the Championships and the Olympics you dream that one day you're going to wear the jersey. Every time I play for the national team I enjoy it because you never know when it's going to be the last time. It's pretty special."

Kyle Wellwood played for Team Canada at the 2003 WJC hosted in Halifax and Sydney. Canada lost 3-2 to Russia in the championship game.

"It was a good experience overall. I was lucky enough to make the team and I got a goal that made the highlight reel for a few years. We lost in the finals to Russia, but it was still a pretty fun tournament."

Bryan Little represented Team Canada at the 2007 WJC in Mora and Leksand, Sweden. Canada beat Russia 4-2 to take home the Gold Medal.

"It was probably one of the biggest highlights in my career. It's great to look back and enjoy the accomplishment. I have the commerotive DVD, a team plaque, my jersey and my medal all hanging on my wall back home."

Ron Hainsey played for Team USA at the 2000 WJC hosted in Skelleftea and Umea, Sweden. He also played the following year's tournament that was held in Moscow and Podolsk, Russia.

"It was a really exciting event. We finished sixth that year, the highest we had ever finished. It was great for our country for sure. It's something special, every time you put on that jersey, it's a very proud feeling."

Derek Meech represented Canada at the 2004 WJC in Helsinki and Hameenlinna, Finland. Team Canada took home the silver medal after being dropped 4-3 by Team USA in the Gold Medal game.

Blake Wheeler played for Team USA at the 2006 WJC in Vancouver, Kamloops and Kelowna. Team USA dropped 4-3 to Finland in the Bronze Medal game.

"It was an unbelievable experience. It's a huge honour to be able to play in the tournament. Everything about it was awesome and getting the chance to represent my country for the first time was a really big deal."

Nik Antropov represented Kazakhstan at the 1999 WJC hosted in Winnipeg. That year Antropov's team defeated Switzerland 3-0, and skated to a 2-2 draw with Belarus in the group stage. Kazakhstan lost 12-2 to Team Canada in the quarterfinal round, finishing sixth overall in the tournament standings. The sixth place finish stands as the best finish for a Kazakh team at the tournament.
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