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Announcement of players invited to Canada’s National Junior Team summer development camp

Having captured gold at the 2021 IIHF World Championship, Cole Perfetti and Owen Power are counting on their experience to win another world title in Edmonton

It’s hard to estimate the value of experience, but two players from Canada’s National Junior Team hope to prove that theirs is worth its weight in gold.

Cole Perfetti and Owen Power came to the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship with a unique and inspiring background that could fuel them in their quest for a second gold medal in less than a year.

Last spring, these two young men contributed to Team Canada’s victory at the 2021 IIHF World Championship – a colorful tournament for Canada, not only because of the gold medal, but also because of the journey that led to it.

“We could easily have panicked,” said Power, a 6-foot-6 defenseman who plays for the University of Michigan. But we never stopped trusting the process. We remained patient and we had confidence that we were playing good hockey. »

However, after three straight losses – one to hosts Latvia, one to Germany, and a crushing 5-1 loss to the United States – the Canadians looked like they were in the strings. However, they were able to turn the tide and manage to win the tournament in a memorable way.

Team Canada has shone in the last four games of the preliminary round, posting three wins and only one loss – in a shootout against Finland – to fight their way into the playoffs.

This turnaround heralded the big things to come: an overtime win over the Russians in the quarter-finals and revenge victories over the Americans in the semi-finals and over the Finns in the final, again in overtime.

This gold medal, the 27e of Canada, marked the first time that a team won a World Cup while having four losses on its record.

“There are a lot of lessons to learn from this tournament,” said Perfetti, a forward who plays for the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League. Everyone doubted us and thought it was over for us. But we showed resilience. We saw that we had a chance and we took it. »

Perfetti and Power believe that the two parts of this journey – the difficult beginnings and the big victory – are rewarding and have instilled in them, through experience, the importance of perseverance and, above all, what it takes to win.

“You can learn a lot from a win,” said Perfetti, the 2020 Winnipeg Jets first-round pick. Well, we never get tired of it. Being world champion and winning gold for my country was the best feeling of my life. »

As one of three returning players for Team Canada at the World Juniors, the 19-year-old (who will celebrate his 20th birthday on New Year’s Day) believes the experience he shared with Power at the World of the IIHF is an asset for this second lap of the track in the under 20s.

“That gold medal taught me a lot of things that apply here,” he says.

Especially since Team Canada is playing its games in Edmonton for the second year in a row.

“There is a certain comfort in returning to the same experience and the same routine as last year”, adds the one who scored twice and produced six points in seven games a year ago.

For Power, also 19, earning a spot on Canada’s National Junior Team is “a dream come true”; it’s also the main reason why the first pick in the 2021 NHL Draft chose to extend his college career into the fall rather than don the Buffalo Sabers uniform.

“I haven’t been idle and I’ve had a lot of fun,” says the Mississauga hockey player. And it was very beneficial to play for several teams in several tournaments. »

After all, the environment at the IIHF World Championship was very positive in many ways, and the pair know how to recreate that atmosphere within the World Juniors delegate team, which is looking for a second medal. gold in three years and a third in five years.

That feeling is even more tangible for Perfetti, who hopes to build on her experience at the Junior and Senior Worlds.

The assistant captain, who learned his trade in Whitby, Ont., is inspired by the performance and leadership of his teammate last year, Dylan Cozens.

Cozens, then a sophomore, was co-captain of the Canadian junior team. affectionately nicknamed The Workhorse from Whitehorse (“the Whitehorse workhorse”) in the hockey world, the now rookie player for the Buffalo Sabers was virtually unstoppable last year.

He shone with 8 goals and 16 points in seven games, helping his team to the finals and rising to second place in scoring. The media present also selected him among the three best forwards of the tournament.

This excellent performance impressed Perfetti, who will strive to do the same this year.

“Dylan was essential to our success,” he explains. It was he who dominated on the ice and who led us to victory. I hope to play the same role. »

However, his international gold medal taught him that no player can win a championship alone – another lesson learned in Latvia that he hopes can apply in Canada’s quest for gold in Edmonton.

“To win a championship, you need more than individual success, you need the whole team to do their bit. I want the gold, and I’m going to do everything I can to help my team.

“It’s not my first World Juniors; I know it takes a collective effort. And whatever role I’m in, I just want to do as much as I can for my team. »

Winning, especially internationally, is exhilarating, and Team Canada looks set to provide a healthy dose of euphoria for Perfetti and Power at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship, on and off the ice. Gold could very well embellish the maple leaf, once again.

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