Kayden Gohley had the captain’s crest “C” on his jacket with a large maple leaf as the emblem. At 19, he was set to serve as a great captain for the Canadian team at the Junior World Championships in his hometown of Edmonton.
Guhle experienced the feeling of stomping on the ice at Rogers Place as captain of Team Canada. But the experience did not last long. Two small games. A 6-3 victory over the Czech Republic and another 11-2 victory over Austria.
On December 29, Luke Tardiff, the new president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, decided to cancel the tournament. The Omicron wave has taken this holiday tradition away.
About a week later, Guhle is still in shock, but also regresses.
“Yes, it still hurts,” Gul said in a phone interview with the newspaper. I look at the dates and I think we have to play the semi-finals on January 4th and the final on January 5th. There is still a lot in my head. I find it sad, but there is nothing we can do. This is the reality at present, the epidemic is causing a lot of damage.”
He continued, “I never thought about the possibility of seeing the cancellation of the tournament.” I thought we’d play the tournament, like last year. We opened the tournament, we played matches. But in our world today, you cannot predict many things. The organizers chose to cancel the tournament in order to protect the safety of players, staff and those attracted to the tournament. It’s unfortunate, but it’s part of life.”
The Prince Albert Raiders captain of the Western Junior League before moving to the Edmonton Oil Kings in early December, Guhle found the letter “C” on his World Juniors shirt.
“It was really special. There were many good candidates to carry this message, but they trusted me. I was happy to see the coaches, led by Dave Cameron, see me as the captain of this team. There have been great captains in the history of the Canadian team. I wore a “C” proudly “.
Guhle was following in the footsteps of Kyle Chipchura, CH’s last hope who played Team Canada’s captain. Chipchura, a first-round pick in 2004, earned that honor in 2006. Although he didn’t have a glorious NHL career, the quarterback from Alberta still played nearly 500 games (482).
Since 2000, not many big names have served as captains. The most famous are Christopher Letang (2007), Ryan Ellis (2011), Ryan Nugent Hopkins (2013) and Brayden Point (2016).
Hope for a cure
Guhle, a 6-foot-2, 201-pound left-handed defensive man, was making his second appearance at the World Junior Championships. For this upcoming edition in Edmonton, he wanted to banish the loss to Trevor Zegras, Spencer Knight and USA in the gold medal match from his memory.
“I think it is more difficult to accept the cancellation of the tournament,” he said. In Canada, she did not win a silver medal. We didn’t have the medal color we wanted at the end of last year’s World Cup. I remember the feeling I had after losing in the final against the United States (2-0). For this year, I wanted to redeem myself. I had another motive, I wanted to finish the job. But we failed to complete the tournament. This painful.”
Nonetheless, Guhle will retain a guise of hope.
“I would like us to resume the tournament. When the captains of the Canadian team brought us the bad news, they were quick to say that there is a possibility to resume the tournament, perhaps in the summer. That would be great. I keep that in mind. I would like to find my teammates in the World Cup. And the weather will be much hotter in Edmonton this summer.
A word about Conor Bedard
In two matches, Guhle had an assist and had a rating of +5. Conor Bedard, set to be a top-flighter in the 2023 NHL Draft, scored the tournament with four goals against weak Austria.
“Connor is a generational talent, and a unique and distinguished player,” Guhle said. Off the ice, he’s a great guy, too. He was quite conservative. He has all the tools to be a great NHL player. I can’t wait to see him next year in this tournament or even better this summer to resume the tournament.”
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