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IIHF Directorate Awards
FEA.068.03
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January 5, 2003
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The IIHF Directorate award winners were announced during the Gold Medal game tonight. The IIHF directorate is made up of one team official from each of the ten teams playing in the tournament who voted and chose the best player in each position - goalie, defense and forward.

Canada's Marc-Andre Fleury won the goaltender's award. He was a fan favourite and easily recognizable by his bright yellow pads flashing while making spectacular stops. At times, he was the one player that kept his team in the tournament, letting in only seven goals in 97 shots before tonight's game. He is 19, and can say that he won a silver medal in his adoptive province. He is eligible for the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, so many of the scouts here this week have been re-evaluating his worth.

His dream for this week was winning the gold medal. "I wanted the gold, I missed it. We were here to win the gold and we didn't get it. (The Russians) were all skilled players, so I had to be ready on every shot. They played hard and it was a tough game for us."

Even being named a directorate award winner, one that he shares with such notables as Jimmy Waite, Dominik Hasek, and Kari Lehtonen didn't mean as much as a gold would have. "Sure it's nice to be recognized here, but I was here for the gold and even if I got this, it was not what I was looking for. I would trade it for a gold."

His future plans include playing in Canada, but he has no particular team he wants to play for. "I would love to play anywhere in Canada. N'importe où. Anywhere."

The tournament's best defenseman was Finland's Joni Pitkanen. With six points in seven games, he was a valuable player at both ends of the ice. He would jump into the rush, and often set up the play for the top line of Tuomo Ruutu, Jussi Jokinen, and Henrik Juntenen. A true indicator of his worth, he had the second highest plus-minus average on his team, with a +4 rating.

Igor Grigorenko had a plus-minus rating of +10, and one game-winning goal during the tournament. "He is very happy. He will show his parents the award first," a translator said. His parents will also get a chance to see the gold medal that he is proudly sporting.

Halifax and Sydney set a record for attendance at WJC games. Regularly sold out, the total attendance was 242, 173.


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