Team Canada Wins on and Off the Floor
Prague, Czech Republic - Well, once again, the NBHAC led the way in 2016 as the Team Canada Juniors travelled to Prague, Czech Republic in June. There were no less than twenty players and administrators from the NBHAC representing our country in Europe.
In a beautifully picturesque city of Prague, the world came to see the World Ball Hockey Federation Championships to gather and crown a World Junior Ball Hockey Champion, emblematic of ball hockey supremacy in the World.
How the team came together…
The team was selected after scouting major events during 2015 which included the Provincial Championships, the High school Tournaments and the Maple Leaf Cup. The original list of 50 players were identified as prospects and list was dwindled down to a 20 player roster. Canada’s Under 20 team was a collection of young men that traveled abroad for a tournament they will not soon forget. The boys gathered for a mini-camp in Penetanguishene before departure which was vital for team building and where the team could work on systems and strategies.
Canada is located in the Northwestern Hemisphere about half-a-dozen time zones from Prague, Czech Republic. However, despite it’s geographical position, The Great White North has become the proverbial centre of the ball hockey world after winning it’s fifth consecutive U-20 global championship and sixth gold medal since the tournament’s inception in 2000.
Team Canada would go 6-0 en route to the championship and were crowned the 2016 World U-20 Ball Hockey Federation Champions.
Canada are to be allotted full marks for their performance in Prague because the highly skilled and speedy roster amassed by the staff and used the size of the floor to their advantage. This consequently gave their opponents mismatch issue’s and forced them to play a different style that many weren't used to. The result was golden.
Yes, the Canucks prevailed. However, lost in the translation was the fact that there is more to winning than meets the eye. The process, which theoretically should expose the product, was true to form once again in 2016. It revealed it’s true colours in the previous global championships as well, which ultimately adds up to five. Coincidence? Nay another thought of chance in anyone’s mind. This is more accurately an organized, structured and well executed plan that has continued to foster the growth and development of a ball hockey program that continues to reap it’s rewards. Though, this is not so much about winning the prize as it is about a winning program.
It would be hard to imagine for Team Canada to play a more flawless game than it did against the opposition, but Canada proved to be much quicker and more opportunistic.
It was going to be small things that determined the outcome of this championship. Who controlled the tempo? who would be more disciplined? who would capitalize on opportunities? who would get that big save? there wasn't much separating the teams but those small, little details that would be the difference.
Team Canada's offence was well chronicled throughout the tournament getting balanced scoring from all of the forwards which was complemented well with a group of athletic ball moving defensemen and the backbone of every championship team would be solid goaltending. This team seemed to be able to play any style of game, but it was ball possession and team defence which propelled the team to the 2016 World Ball Hockey Federation Championship with a convincing victory.
It was a moment that was a long time coming for this group of hard working Canadians. The biggest thing this year was the hard work and our hunger to win. This team was built around teamwork and everyone came together, and that's why it happened.
Moments after the conclusion of the game this tight-knit dressing room that seemingly spent every minute of the day together realized they had just accomplished their goal.
Therefore, congratulations are in order for the National Ball Hockey Association of Canada’s administrators, coaches, officials, support staff, volunteers and players who have all played an integral role in putting together such a program and helping to make it all possible. The association’s Junior program led by the High Performance Director, Stephen Dockerty who has done an outstanding job in affording players the chance of a life time to play a game that they love at such an elite level in different countries around the world. The ongoing scouting and player evaluations conducted at various events in addition to the regional camps that lead up to the final national selections, have given everyone the opportunity and the dream to hopefully one day proudly adorn the Red Maple Leaf on their chest.
Nonetheless, such a process along with the quest for ‘The Golden Fleece’ is rarely an easy feat given the political, economic and social challenges that often face the sport and it’s participants each year. It is indeed a very long and arduous journey that truly reflects the nature of those who ultimately arrive at the prize. Simply ask those who have attended a camp or have been lucky enough to have part of the Canadian freight train and played a handle full of games in as many days against the best the world has to offer in the sport. They will be happy to share their thoughts with you.
Helen Keller (A blind and a deaf mute woman) summed up her feelings on the subject of overcoming obstacles and perseverance in life quite eloquently when she stated the following.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”
Fortunate enough for Canadians, however, the road to gold is smoother now than it has ever been before. It has been built on a solid foundation and well maintained by the finest practitioners in the game today. Hence, it is time for future generations to seize the opportunities that lie ahead. They should not simply reap what others before them have sown, but more importantly make that which is great today, that much greater tomorrow.
There is no time like the present and the present is now. The NBHAC JTC program, their administrative staff and players across the country cannot afford to rest on their laurels. Canada stands proudly atop the championship podium for many reasons, unfortunately it is lonely at the top. Canada must work far more diligently now than ever before to prepare yet another team in 2018 because the world waits for no one. Only the champion, of course.
Go Canada Go!
The Canadian contingent was comprised of the following:
General Manager, Mauro Cugini, and Head Coach Barry Greer, Assistant Coach Tyler McClure
Goalies: Collin Charbula, Matt Loveys
Defence: Liam Hayes, Nick Heins, Brendan Moore, Ty Traynor, Zach Treen, Baily Watkins
Forwards: Zachary Archer, Josh Borland, Benoit Chin, Callan Heins, Andrew Kelly, Keegan Leal, Mckenzee MacQueen, Matthew Magliozzi, Ryan Ngan, Jack Scanlan, Reid Syrydiuk, Quinn Syrydiuk
Canadians D – Liam Hayes, F – Jack Scanlan, Quinn Syrydiuk captured individual all star team honours. The balance of the tournament all stars were, G – Martin Juricek (Slovakia), D – Tom Wagner, Nick Kilcourne (USA). Canada’s Benoit Chin would lead the tournament in scoring and Jack Scanlan was named Tournament MVP
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