The 2009 World Junior Hockey Hockey Championships were held in Ottawa Ontario and featured a Canadian team looking to go for an impressive 5th consecutive gold medal. Coached by Pat Quinn, the Team Canada roster was filled with future NHL stars, including John Tavares, Jordan Eberle, Alex Pietrangelo and PK Subban. The roster also included Angelo Esposito, Patrice Cormier and Stefan Della Rovere. The coaching staff assembled by Hockey Canada was also very smart and well rounded. Willie Desjardins and Dave Cameron were assistants, with both becoming head coaches of the team in the coming years. Another Assistant Coach was Guy Boucher, now the Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning and considered a revolutionary by many with some of his coaching and strategic tactics.
The tournament went well for the hosts from start to finish, beginning with an 8-1 win over the Czech Republic on Boxing Day 2008. In that game John Tavares had 3 points and Dustin Tokarski stopped 21 of 22 shots. The offense kept coming for the Canadians, as two days later they defeated Khazakhstan 15-0 while outshooting them 54-11. The game saw Cody Hodgson, chosen 10th overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft out of the Brampton Battalion of the OHL, had 6 points. Jamie Benn, chosen in the 5th round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by the Dallas Stars, recorded 5 points that night. Chet Pickard picked up the victory in goal, stopping all 11 Khazakhstan shots.
Canada then sailed through the rest of the round robin, with a 5-1 victory over Germany and a wild 7-4 win against the United States in the annual New Years Eve showdown between the rivals. On New Years Eve 2008 John Tavares tallied a hat trick and PK Subban had a 3 assist night for the Canadians. For the Americans Jonathan Blum, Jim O’Brien, Kevin Shattenkirk and Jimmy Hayes all scored in the loosing effort. Dustin Tokarski was in goal for the Canadians, with Thomas McCollum tending the American crease.
January 2010 signified the end of the round robin and the beginning of the medal round. For the Canadians it was where the legend of Jordan Eberle was first sighted. With Canada down 5-4 in the dying minute and Dustin Tokarski pulled for an extra attacker, Eberle tied the game with 5 seconds remaining. The game remained tied throughout overtime and made its way to the shootout, where it was again Eberle winning it for the hosts. The Russian team was filled with NHL draft picks, including Nikita Filatov, Dmitri Kulikov and Slava Voinov (32nd overall, 2008, LA Kings).
After that the Canadians had a date with Sweden for the gold medal. After plenty of heated debate across the nation over who should start the game in goal for Canada, Pat Quinn went with Tokarski, who rewarded his coaches faith with 25 saves in the 5-1 victory. Cody Hodgson scored twice, with PK Subban, Eberle and Angelo Esposito providing the other goals. John Tavares was named Tournament MVP with 15 points in 6 games, as well as winning 65% of his faceoffs. The Swedish silver medal team included notable names and high selections at the NHL Draft such as Erik Karlsson, Victor Hedman, David Rundblad and Magnus Paajarvi.
Where are they Now?
John Tavares likely secured his selection as 1st overall pick at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft with his strong showing at the tournament. PK Subban, who led all tournament defencemen with 9 points, is now a mainstay on the Montreal Canadiens blueline. Ryan Ellis eventually became captain of the team in the coming years and was chosen 11th overall by the Nashville Predators later that year. Jordan Eberle once again won over fans with his first career NHL goal, and is now in his 2nd year with the Edmonton Oilers. Stefan Della Rovere is currently in the St. Louis Blues system. Chet Pickard remains with the Nashville Predators, although due to Pekka Rinne’s contract extension he likely will never become a 60 game goalie there. As for Tokarski he is currently in the Tampa Bay Lightning system, although with less competition within the organization he may have a better opportunity than Pickard. We are exactly one week away from more WJC memories.
The Hockey Writers has been granted full media access to the 2012 IIHF WJC, including all round robin and medal round games. Myself and Chris Ralph will bring exclusive content to the site.
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