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WJC alums reunite in Philly

by Adam Kimelman
PHILADELPHIA -- One of the most memorable international teams ever iced by Canada held a bit of a reunion Saturday.

Six members of the 2005 World Junior Championship team that won the gold medal in Grand Forks, N.D., had a chance to catch up when the Anaheim Ducks visited the Philadelphia Flyers.

Ducks forwards Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, and Flyers forwards Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, along with Philadelphia defensemen Braydon Coburn and Danny Syvret were on the team that cruised to the title by outscoring its opponents by a combined 41-7 in the six games.

"Before the beginning of the tournament, we knew we had a great team," Coburn told "We were on a mission. Especially with it being in North Dakota, which is so close to Canada, we had a lot of family there. I think just the way we did it, the way we, right from the start, right from the first game, we played as a team really well. As that tournament progressed, we just got tighter as a team and it showed in what we did to teams and how well we did play in that tournament."

What they did was win five of the six games by at least three goals; the only close game they played was a 3-1 victory against the Czech Republic in the semifinals. They then cruised past a Russia team that had Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin 6-1 in the final.

It was the first WJC gold for Canada in seven years, and it followed three straight gold medal-game losses. Canada also hasn't lost a tournament since that '05 WJC.

Richards, the captain of that team, told what he remembers most from that tournament is how close the team got.

"A lot of us went through the Under-18s together, lost the (WJC) the year before in Finland together, so it's really our third year as a group," he said. "We were close."

While that team has gone on to incredible NHL success -- 16 of the 22 players currently are in the NHL, and seven have played in at least one NHL All-Star Game -- the players from that team try to stay in touch despite being dispersed all around the continent.

"We're always talking," Perry told "We were talking this morning, just for a couple seconds on the bench. There'll always be that special bond that people will never forget."

Reminiscing is fun, but it stops when the puck drops.

"Anytime you play guys like that, it's neat to see because you've known them for so long," said Coburn. "But in the same sense you want to win. It's a (friendly) rivalry, like bragging rights. You always want to have those."

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