knows all about the pride behind the red maple leaf jersey.
The Ottawa Senators centre has represented Canada twice each at the world and world junior hockey championships, bringing home medals on each occasion. But he knows there would be nothing like having the opportunity to strike gold on home soil at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
“It gives you a little bit of extra fire in the belly to play on your home turf,” said Spezza, who was one of 46 players to participate in Hockey Canada’s summer orientation camp for the 2010 Olympic team. “Definitely, it makes it a little bit more of an exciting thing.”
Spezza got to experience the thrill of the Winter Games firsthand back in 2006, when he was part of a three-member “taxi squad” of substitutes at the Torino Olympics. Though he never saw any action, he soaked up as much of the Olympic experience as he could.
"It gives you a little bit of extra fire in the belly to play on your home turf. Definitely, it makes it a little bit more of an exciting thing." - Jason Spezza
“It was amazing, staying in the (athletes) village and being around everything,” said Spezza. “Going through the whole process of the Olympics was a great experience and something I learned a lot from.”
Spezza is certain the experience in Vancouver will be something completely different.
“In Canada, it’s going to be special,” he said. “I was at speed skating (in Torino) when Cindy Klassen broke the record there and that was pretty neat. But I don’t think anything is going to compare to (Vancouver 2010).”
Naturally, Spezza would love to be a part of the team that tries to return Olympic men’s hockey gold to Canada. It would also be one more time for him to feel that pride in the red jersey.
“You don’t feel like you’re playing for anything other than for your country and wanting to win,” said Spezza. “There’s a lot of pride involved in it and they’re always special experiences.”