Coming together as a team
Hailey Gajadhar, SPORTS COLUMNIST
I think it’s time to talk about a largely ignored aspect of the 2017 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship gold medal final.
I’m not here to tell you that we failed as Canadians or even that our team failed us. That’s a lot of pressure falling on the shoulders of young men who are just trying to do what they love.
I think Canada failed our team. The World Juniors have gone from being a tournament full of small town Canadian pride to making a spectacle of trying to find the next fancy city to host. There’s more focus on having the tournament here in Canada every two years than focusing on bringing these young men together to be a real team.
Unfortunately, in this year’s final, the lack of teamwork was more apparent than ever. It’s a miracle that we made it to a final shootout at all given the way we were playing.
I’m not going to argue that shootouts shouldn’t decide championship finals. I think we’ve heard enough about that. And honestly, it doesn’t even matter because Canada didn’t deserve to win that game.
Sure, we came out hot going up by two, but Team USA closed that gap pretty quick. And after we went up by another two, Team USA answered again by bringing us to a 4-4 tie. The numbers look okay, but you look at the shots on goal, and you can see that Canada had way more shots on goal, but just couldn’t make it happen.
I was holding my breath every time Team USA had the puck. I was hiding under the covers and closing my eyes hoping that they wouldn’t make the play that would end the tournament for us. They were calm and collected. They worked as a team—it was scary.
I’m surprised the Americans didn’t just finish us off in overtime when all Canada had were individual moves of desperation. Pierre-Luc Dubois could have won us the game on the power play if he had just taken his time, but a hasty move caused him to miss the puck entirely.
We didn’t look like a team at all. We looked like we were all over the place. Everyone was trying to be a hero, and that’s just not how a team works.
Hailey is a self-proclaimed champion heavyweight boxer.
Coming in at 5’1”, she has the reach of a 12-year-old boy and an opinion that won’t quit.
Having never been in a fight, she remains undefeated.
Follow her on Twitter @HGaj