Ken Lovsin was the epitome of so many Canadian national team players in the 1980s and 1990s.
Yes, the national team program was an excellent breeding ground for young prospects looking to improve their skating, puck handling and especially their defensive game. Many went on to long and successful NHL careers.
Yet many were like Ken Lovsin - an anonymous NHL cast-off who most of us had never heard of before or since the 1994 Olympic games in Lillehammer, Norway.
Lovsin was a standout defenseman at Camrose Lutheran College before joining the University of Saskatchewan in 1986, graduating two years later.
Though the Hartford Whalers acquired his NHL rights in 1987, Lovsin chose to join the Canadian national team for the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons. He loved the international game, but it was a tough life. He made only about $30,000 a year, and there was no Olympics to aspire to. World Championships were also very unlikely as the national team players tended to get bumped by NHLers whose season ended early.
With that in mind Lovsin jumped at the opportunity to play pro by signing as a free agent with the Washington Capitals in 1990-91. He played with their AHL farm team in Baltimore until 1992, and also got a late Christmas gift by playing in his first - and what proved to be only - NHL game on Boxing Day 1990.