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Hometown Hero Akil Thomas Honored at Maple Leafs Game

Akil Thomas and a few of his Canadian teammates dropped the puck at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday

by LA Kings @LAKings /

On Sunday, with four minutes left in the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship gold medal game, LA Kings 2018 draft pick Akil Thomas scored the game-winning goal against Russia to complete the comeback for Team Canada.

Which is... kind of a big deal.

Tweet from @HockeyCanada: Heart of 𝓰𝓸𝓵𝓭. ������🇨🇦Your 2020 World Junior Champions. 🏆🥇#WorldJuniors

If fans weren't familiar with the 5'11" 20-year-old forward, they sure are now. Thomas and a handful of Canadian World Juniors players, including Kings prospect Aidan Dudas, were honored at Scotiabank Arena before the Toronto Maple Leafs hosted the Winnnipeg Jets.

As expected, the Scarborough-native received a roaring ovation from the crowd as he walked out to center ice to drop the puck. 

Tweet from @LAKings: Gold Medal-winning @AkilThomas2, @AidanDudas and Team Canada were hono(u)red at tonight's Maple Leafs vs. Jets game in Toronto 🇨🇦#GoKingsGo 👑

Tweet from @Sportsnet: Homecoming fitting of a champion🥇@MapleLeafs honoured members of the 🇨🇦 #WorldJuniors team before tonight's game.

Though the goal was Thomas' first of the tournament, it came at the perfect time. "On the bench, I was thinking, I'm going to get one more shift out here and I'm going to score," Thomas said. "Luckily the coach called me up."

"I'm so proud of him," Akil's mom said. "He worked so hard for this." 

Tweet from @CBCTheNational: A very proud mom surprises Team Canada���s Akil Thomas at the airport after gold medal win at the world juniors. #TheMoment

Tweet from @nazzykadri: akil thomas getting the loudest cheer is what he deserves 🥺

In addition to the 2020 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, Thomas has represented Team Canada at the 2017 IIHF World U18 Championships, 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and 2018 IIHF World U18 Championships.

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