KANATA, ON – Pat Quinn has been around hockey long enough to know when he sees a good thing.
And Quinn sees a bright future for Colten Teubert, the Los Angeles Kings prospect who plays defense for Canada at the 2009 World Junior Hockey Championship.
"He has lots of good assets and I think he could be a good pro," said Quinn, the head coach of Canada's National Junior Team competing here in the elite world junior championship. Quinn coached the Kings from 1984 to 1987 and is a two-time winner (1980, 1992) of the Jack Adams Trophy as the NHL's top coach.
"It's really up to him because he has lots of potential."
Teubert was the Kings first round pick, 13th overall, in the 2008 NHL Draft. He plays for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League and his road to Canada's elite National Junior team began a few years ago.
Hockey Canada, which is the governing body for youth hockey in Canada, identified Teubert as a top prospect when he was in mid-teens. That, in turn, allowed Teubert to hone his skills in Hockey Canada's top development program, called the Program of Excellence.
Teubert won a gold medal with Canada's National Under-18 Team at the 2008 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Kazan, Russia.
He was a member of Canada's National Summer Under-18 team at the 2007 tournament in Slovakia and the Czech Republic when Canada finishing fourth.
Before that, he was member of Team British Columbia at the 2007 Canada Winter Games. The Canada Winter Games is a feeder system for amateur athletes working towards becoming a member of Canada's Olympic team.
When it came time to picking the roster for the 2009 World Junior Championship, Teubert was a no-brainer for Quinn, who was behind the bench when Canada won the world Under-18 title.
"He is certainly intense and he likes physical play," said Quinn.
The World Junior Championship is an annual tournament featuring the best teenaged players in the world. Canada is the four-time defending world champion and the pressure is immense to win a fifth gold medal and tie the country's record for consecutive golds.
The home arena for the 2009 world junior championship is the Scotiabank Arena, otherwise known as the home of the Ottawa Senators.
This being Canada, the support for the Canadian juniors, in particular, and the remaining nine teams has been tremendous.
In Canada's opening game, Teubert looked up to see a sea of 20,00 fans in Canada's colors of red and white. It was a sign of things to come attendance wise.
"It is unreal. Playing in front of 20,000 fans is pretty special and it was exciting to see all the red and white," said the six-foot-three, 190-pound Teubert.
Teubert is a defensive specialist who Quinn sends over the boards when it's time to shut down the opposition's top offensive line.
He likes his assignment and thrives on the pressure of trying to win a fifth straight world junior crown.
"But with pressure comes opportunity and we have to take advantage of the opportunity we have," he said. "It is a great opportunity to get a fifth straight world junior championship and we're here in Canada's capital city. It is just exciting."
The Canadians like to build as the tournament wears on, with the aim to be playing their best hockey in the medal round.
Teubert knows the foils of looking past any opponent.
"I think we have to treat every game the same and there is no game that is easy and there is no game that is hard. We play the United States the same way we will play against Kazakhstan or Germany. It does not matter who you are playing. We will always play well and we will always play 60 minutes."
While Quinn sees a bright future for Teubert, there are a few things he thinks the Kings prospect has to work on.
"He has to step up his positioning and understanding of where he needs to play from. He wants to be in a lot of spots. He is eager and he wants to do lots of things and sometime as a defenseman that sense of urgency inside you often pushes you to the places where the game is not going on," said Quinn.
"He needs to get that broader band of experience. He is a good skater and he has a good body and he handles the puck relatively well. He has what it takes to be a pro," continued Quinn.
Teubert will return to the Regina Pats when the world junior is over and will focus on the Kings next summer.
"Hopefully next year I will get a shot to make the team," he said.
But first things first and that's mining world junior gold.
By Alan Adams | Special to LAKings.com