There are some things to learn about Canada’s performance at the recent World Junior Hockey Championships.
One of which is that the most talented team, or the one with the most skill, don’t always win in the end. A lot of emphasis was placed on getting the best goal scorers on the team but there is more to hockey than putting pucks in the net. There is something to be said about having a small group of 8 to 10 players who are there simply to get into the corners and risk losing some teeth and perhaps some blood in order to generate scoring chances. Russia and Finland seemed to have it, Canada didn’t.
There is also a lot of talk about how other countries are becoming better at hockey than Canada. I can tell you one secret: most, if not all, of their players are learning their traits in Canada. Do you really think a program like Sweden’s focuses on developing tough, physical players? If hockey was a commodity, Canada would make the US look like a third-world country.
Another thing to take out of Canada’s disappointing result from the tournament is going through failure. Finland’s gold-medal victory ended a 16-year drought. I can bet you their battle with adversity played a part in their championship. Canada’s dry spell is not as long but how they handle this latest defeat will determine how successful they will be at the World Juniors next year in Montreal and Toronto.