Hockey Canada Network |
News
1996 IIHF World Junior Championship
Team Canada Remembers Winning Gold in Boston
Gare Joyce
|
WJC.005.96
|
December 24, 2004
|
|

The last time the United States hosted the world junior tournament, you had a chance to see future stars on the ice and an opportunity to shake the hand of everyone in the crowd. That’s just another way of saying that a great hockey tournament was played in front of possibly the sparsest crowds in the history of the tournament.

Led by Jarome Iginla and Jose Theodore, Canada won the gold in stirring fashion in Boston, Mass. The tournament didn’t reach its climax in the final—the Canadians beat Sweden 4-1 in a game far more one-sided than the score.

No, the game of the tournament came in the semis when Canada beat the Russians 4-3 with Theodore turning aside 43 of 46 shots. Iginla scored an unforgettable shorthanded goal in the third period that turned out to be the margin of victory.

“We knew what we had to do today because it’s what Canadian teams have to do against the Russians,” said coach Marcel Comeau. “We had to play closer to the boards and win play below the dots. We have to crash the net and look for second and third chances on shots. That’s how we got a couple of our goals today, (Mike) Watts’s and (Jason) Podollan’s second.” It was a classic cliff-hanger.

The Russians, led by 16-year-old Sergei Samsonov, blitzed Theodore. The game wasn’t free and clear for the Canadians until the buzzer sounded. In fact, there was only one thing missing at the game.

A crowd.

Boston never really caught world-junior fever. In fact, the city never even came down with a sniffle. The Boston newspapers mostly ignored the tournament, except for a story or two about local players on the host U.S. team. Television and radio in Boston ignored it completely.

College rinks served as the venues but those drawing up the schedule booked games not just in Boston but in surrounding college towns—where all the students had, of course, gone home for the holidays.

And then there was the weather. The night of the game against the Russians a nor’easter blew into Boston—on local newscasts talk about “the storm of the century” had nothing to do with what Jose Theodore had to weather in the third period. It was no surprise that there were only a few hundred fans at the semi and the final—fact is, on a half-hour drive to the rink you were lucky to see anything other than a streetcar moving about downtown Boston.

The world junior tournament returns to the U.S. this year and the approach is entirely different. Grand Forks, North Dakota, is the site, so the tournament won’t have to compete with professional sports for the public’s and media’s attention. The University of North Dakota’s arena is regarded as the finest in the U.S. college game, one of the best in hockey anywhere.

The game will have a higher profile than ever in the U.S. with ESPN carrying games in the later rounds. And with the proximity to Winnipeg and the rest of the west, there will be a lot more fans crossing the border to take in games than there were in Boston.

The host team is coming off its first ever world under-20 title, clinched with a 4-3 victory over Canada in Helsinki. Fourteen players return from the Canadian team that led the U.S. 3-1 going into the third period of the final. Will one of them emerge as the forward of the tournament, like Iginla did in Boston? Or will it be Patrice Bergeron, who at 18 played for the Canadian team that won the gold medal at last spring’s world championships? Or heralded prospect Sidney Crosby?

Though coach Brent Sutter might have a more skill through his line-up than the Canadian team did back in 1996, the same rules apply as spelled out by Marcel Comeau: win play below the dots, crash the net, look for second chances.

For 14 players this tournament is the second chance they’re looking for. If only the weather co-operates.


For more information:

André Brin
Director, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-777-4557
abrin@hockeycanada.ca

Francis Dupont
Manager, Media Relations/Communications
Hockey Canada
403-777-4564
fdupont@hockeycanada.ca

Jason LaRose
Manager, Content Services
Hockey Canada
403-777-4553
jlarose@hockeycanada.ca

Kristen Lipscombe
Coordinator, Communications
Hockey Canada
403-284-6427
klipscombe@hockeycanada.ca

Keegan Goodrich
Coordinator, Media
Hockey Canada
403-284-6484
kgoodrich@hockeycanada.ca

facebook.com/hockeycanada

twitter.com/hockeycanada

youtube.com/hockeycanadavideos

Videos
Photos
2014 Esso Cup: WEY 2 - SUD 1
Apr 20, 2014
Jenica Whitrow scoredwith less than two minutes to play to winit for Weyburn.
2014 WU18C: CAN 2 - SVK 1
Apr 20, 2014
Brendan Perlini’s two goals led Canada to a victory over the Slovaks.
2014 Esso Cup: STC 8 - MON 1
Apr 20, 2014
Sixteen players goton the score sheetas the hosts coastedto an opening win.
2014 Esso Cup: EDM 1 - FRA 0
Apr 20, 2014
Jessica Healey scoresthe game’s only goal as the Thunder winsits opener.
2014 WU18C: CAN 5 - GER 2
Apr 19, 2014
Ryan Gropp scored with 5:36 to go to help Canada to its second win.
2014 WU18C: CAN 3 - SWE 1
Apr 17, 2014
Virtanen scored twice to lead Canada to the tournament-opening win.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 5 – USA 1
Mar 30, 2014
U18 women win gold.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 1 – RUS 0 (OT)
Mar 29, 2014
Canada edges Russia in overtime.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 5 – CZE 0
Mar 26, 2014
Canadians shut out Czechs.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 7 – FIN 0
Mar 24, 2014
U18 women blank Finland.
2014 WWU18C: CAN 7 – JPN 1
Mar 23, 2014
Canada starts Worlds with win
2010 OLYW: Flag Raising
Feb 10, 2010
Canada's National Women's Team taking part in the Flag Raising ceremony at the Olympic Village in Vancouver, B.C.
Schedule
Close
Credit  
Close
Photo Credit: