PIESTANY, SLOVAKIA - Canada's National Under 18 Summer Team captured the gold medal at the 2002 Eight Nations Under 18 Cup, after defeating Czech Republic 5-1 in the final game of the tournament on Sunday. Canada finished the championship with a perfect 5-0-0 record.
With the victory on Sunday, Canada has now won six consecutive gold medals at the annual summer Under 18 event held in Europe. This annual Under 18 summer event has evolved over the years, going from four participating teams, to six teams last year, and to now an eight team tournament in 2002, featuring the top eight hockey countries in the world.
The Czech Republic captured the silver medal, while Russia and Switzerland were playing for the bronze medal (late game - no report on score).
Mike Richards of the OHL's Kitchener Rangers led Canada with three goals, two on the power play and one short handed. Nathan Horton and Corey Perry added Canada's other goals to lead Canada to the gold medal win. Goaltender Kevin Nastiuk of the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers got the win for Canada by stopping 31 of the Czech Republic's 32 shots.
Richards took Canada's Player of the Game honours in the gold medal match-up, while Canada took all three tournament top player awards, with Kevin Nastiuk named top goalie; Shawn Belle named top defenseman; and Nigel Dawes named top forward.
Game details, including Canada's roster and summaries of all of Canada's games is available at the CHA's official website at www.canadianhockey.ca
Canada's National Under 18 Summer Team arrives back to Canada:
Arriving in CALGARY, AB from Frankfurt Monday, : Air Canada flight 845,
scheduled to arrive in Calgary, AB at 15:45 (MT) players and staff not staying in Calgary, will board connecting flights on Monday from Calgary to their final destinations
Most players and staff will be available for interviews at Calgary International Airport on Monday, depending upon the connecting flight schedules out of Calgary. A complete flight itinerary of the players' and staff final destinations out of Calgary is not available at this time.
The 2002 National Under 18 Summer Team is comprised entirely of players born in 1985. The Under 18 National team is part of a three stage Program of Excellence beginning with the under 17 regional teams and ending with the World Junior team. The primary objectives of the under 18 program are to identify, evaluate and condition players to the rigours of international competition by giving them their first exposure to international hockey, international officiating, larger ice surfaces, and travel.