We're only two months into 2020, but it's been a whirlwind of a year for Akil Thomas.
That will happen when you score the game-winning goal in the final minutes of the Gold Medal match at the IIHF World Junior Championship.
The World Juniors isn't just another tournament for Canada. It's the tournament for Canada.
From Boxing Day through January 5, families across the country become fully invested in watching the most promising under-20 players showcase their skills on the world stage.
Growing up in Scarborough, Ontario, meant Akil's admiration for the World Juniors started young. It was the main reason he stuck with hockey full time, when so many other hobbies piqued his interests.
"I remember growing up watching [John] Tavares in the World Juniors, [P.K.] Subban in the World Juniors," Akil said. "I literally grew up going to practice, thinking I was one of them and in my mind saying, 'I'm John Tavares. I'm going to score a big goal.'"
And on January 5… he did.