World Junior Championships

They Won Silver and Set World Records – but they Look Devasted

I don’t know about others but I am sick and tired of hearing the negative comments and watching the hand wringing about our juniors losing to the Russians. It raises the question, we are no doubt preparing our players to win but are we preparing them in the event we lose? Our guys played well and gave a good account of themselves. Think how boring it would get if they won the Gold Medal every year. In  any given year, the Fins, Swedes, Swiss and others can win it all. The European junion teams are improving and are getting better so let’s just suck it up.

Some columnists keep whining about these are only kids and we should expect this after all they are only 18, 19 and 20 years of age. To lister to some sports columnists you would think they describing young children – these are MEN!! Last time I checked at 18 in Canada you are legally considered an adult not a child as many claim. Many 16, 17, 18 and 19 year olds fought in WWI and WWII for Canada. Check out the U.S. Marines at Guadalcanal and Midway where they stormed the beaches and beat the hated very professionally trained Japs. Most of those young men were 18 or 19 years of age carrying 70 lbs on their back and a M16 and if lucky a Colt 45 plus rations. They certainly wern’t children.

Our juniors lost due to a number of reasons that all happen in a game and if you win they are overlooked and of course if you lose everyone then finds all of the reasons why. Those of you who are familiar with coaching will quickly realize you rarely hear anyone complain about injuries when you win – the moaning usually sets in when you lose. It is my sincere belief, that they lost because they are on average too big (225 lbs), and  (6’ 3”) tall. You saw it over and over many of the smaller Europeans were much smarter handling the puck along the boards annd in the end zones than our larger juniors.

Maybe our Juniors were brain washed into thinking they were invincible and as soon as they got behind especially in the third period of the Russian final game they fell apart because they were not prepared to play from behind – in other words they collapsed. Most of these Junior Championships places our juniors at a very unfair advantage. For example, the games are for the most part played in either Canada or the U.S. They are played on the small North American sized ice surface in front of home town fans. So with the larger body types smashing and banging these smaller Europeans with much less space behind the net on the small ice we (U.S. and Canada) should win in most cases.

I am no medical expert but maybe our juniors are too large at 225 lbs and 6’ 3” to be playing at extremely high speed and hitting others and the boards on 18 old bodies that are not yet fully developed. Look at the injuries we suffered. Enough said about this topic. But there is always next year.

Russian’s Andrei Sergeves with Cup and Gold Medal


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