2011 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships: Inside the Canadian Collapse, Part 1

Salim ValjiCorrespondent IJanuary 25, 2011

Salim Valji with 2010 WJC Silver Medalist Quinton Howden
Salim Valji with 2010 WJC Silver Medalist Quinton Howden

We all know the story by now. A 3-0 lead at the end of two periods so quickly became one of the biggest collapses in Canadian hockey history.

So what exactly happened?

This is the question that has consumed me for the past few weeks. No longer could I pay attention in Stats 151. The joyous times I had reading poetry suddenly vanished into thin air. I just had to know, and like any good journalist, I sought to find all the answers using any means necessary.

Well to get the answers I desired so greatly, I had to speak with someone on the actual team. Last Friday I caught up with one of the members of the team, left-winger and NHL first-round draft pick Quinton Howden. Howden’s WHL team, the Moose Jaw Warriors, were paying a visit to Edmonton to take on the Oil Kings. 

SV: “In your own words, what happened in the Gold medal game?”

QH: “I don’t think anyone can really tell you. I don’t think anyone still knows what happened. Something that’s gonna be hard to swallow for a long time. It’s a part of the game and that’s the way it goes. Definitely don’t want to experience again.”

SV: “What do you have to say to the people who question the character and coaching of the team?”

QH: “You can’t say anything about the Hockey Canada. They did a great job for us. It was just kind of the meltdown that we had, and like I said it’s a part of the game.”

SV: “Was there a sense of panic when Coach Cameron called the timeout when the game had been tied?”

QH: “We just needed to calm down. We were running around in our own zone, throwing our problems away. He [coach Cameron] tried to calm us down, and it worked for a bit but that’s the way the game goes, and it’s definitely going to be something that’s hard to swallow for a long time.”

SV: “If you could build a team around any member of that WJC team, who would it be and why?”

QH: “Any of them. There’s a reason that everybody was there, they’re awesome hockey players. You can’t say enough about the Hockey Canada organization and what they’ve done for us.”

There you go, folks. Still, I want to know more. Stay tuned for the conclusion of Inside the Collapse where I’ll hear from Curtis Hamilton, an Oilers prospect and winger on the team, and tournament MVP and future NHL All-Star Brayden Schenn.

If you’re a New York Rangers fan, I also caught up with 10th overall pick Dylan McIlrath, who also plays for the Warriors.  

SV: “To Rangers fans who don’t know who Dylan McIlrath is, what do you bring to the organization?”

DM: “Hard-nosed, stay-at-home defenseman. Put fear in the opposition.”

SV: “The Rangers are an organization with many young defensemen. Marc Staal, Michael Del Zotto, Matt Gilroy, Ryan McDonough. What separates you from these players?”

DM: “Physical element. That’s what the Rangers were missing when they drafted me. They showed a lot of faith in me taking me so high.”