Ten days ago the Team USA World Junior Hockey Team won their second championship in the last four years when they defeated Sweden 3-1 in the Gold Medal game of the 2013 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in Russia.
The tournament featured 10 countries that assembled their greatest players under the age of 20 in a two week pool play and round robin styled event that began December 26, 2012 and concluded January 5, 2013. When it comes to hockey, Canada is almost always the heavy favorite to win the gold medal. This year, however, belonged to the Americans who avenged an earlier 2-1 loss in pool play by beating the Canadians 5-1 in the Semi-Finals. Canada would not even medal this year, losing to host Russia in the Bronze Medal game.
This achievement for the young American squad piqued my interest and made me wonder if local high school players like Midview’s Austin Steindl, Manny Ceja and Brock Behler or Amherst’s Steven Morris, Avon’s Eric Novakovic and Elyria Catholic’s Stephen Donat have aspirations to play at the next stage of their hockey life in either college or potentially at the Junior level as well. It also brought to mind the fact that every single one of those players could have been looking up to that whole U-20 team over the course of those two weeks and saying to themselves, I want to be just like them and play for my country someday.
As most of you are aware, hockey is Canada’s National Pastime just like football or baseball is here in the United States. It is so popular that famous country music singer Paul Brandt wrote a song specifically for the World Junior Hockey Championships this year called “I Was There.” Here is the link to the video for the song…enjoy!