Every year I await the World Junior Hockey Championships with great anticipation. I’ve been watching religiously since 1989, and over the years I have become enamored with the next generation of Canadian superstars.
I remember Rob Cimetta’s 7 goals in 7 games back in 1989. Dan Ratushny captained the 1990 team to a gold medal, thanks to the scoring exploits of Dave Chyzowski, Mike Needham and Dwayne Norris. Who can forget John Slaney’s gold medal winning goal on Saskatoon ice. From 1993 through 1997, Canada won five consecutive gold medals, thanks to the heroics of players like Brent Tully (all star in 1993), Martin Gendron, Yanick Dube, Rick Girard (scoring leaders in 1994), Marty Murray, (scoring leader, Best Forward directorate award in 1995), Jason Botterill (3 gold medals – 1995, 1996, and 1997), Christian Dube and Cameron Mann (scoring leaders 1997).
Did you notice anything odd about that list of excellence?
That’s right, you very possibly never heard of any of those guys. They were all NHL busts, and, with the benefit of hindsight, the World Junior Championships rosters are loaded with them.
Canada produces dozens, even hundreds of junior players to the professional ranks every year. You would think that when the top 20 players are named to the Canadian junior national team that those players are all destined for NHL success, barring injuries of course. But apparently not.
Last year I wrote a piece about how being named one of the top 20 junior players in all of Canada still is no guarantee of NHL success. Here's the article for those who wish to revisit.
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