World Junior Memories - With the 2011 IIHF Globe Junior Hockey Championship nearing its conclusion in Buffalo, New York, some current Edmonton Oilers have had the chance to reflect on their experiences at the annual post-holiday tournament.
Of all of the amazing athletes to ever lace up the skates for Team Canada at the international level, couple of had gained the notoriety and all-around fame than Jordan Eberle. Surprisingly, all of the Globe Junior success and recognition that Eberle enjoyed came before the now 20-year old had even played a game in the National Hockey League.
Eberle participated in two consecutive Globe Junior tournaments and came away with a gold and silver medal in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Team accomplishments aside, it was his personal success that most Canadian fans will keep in mind about his heroics.
Needless to say, all of the big goals and energy-infused plays helped lead Canada to its two consecutive top-two finishes, but those memorable moments will forever be interlaced with the all-around unforgettable experience.
Like most competitive players, Eberle was dull with his answer as to why it was a great experience for him.
"For certain, winning," Eberle said. "Getting a opportunity to win on house soil in Ottawa was amazing. It does not truly get significantly better than that. Just seeing the clock tick down and knowing you finally did it, it is an incredible feeling."
Naturally, the all-encompassing moment wouldn’t have come with out a victory within the semi-finals. It was this game vs. Russia that Eberle’s name will permanently will engrained with.
Trailing 5-4 and desperate for the equalizer, a sequence that started with Ryan Ellis’ keep at the point, followed by a John Tavares shot arranged the stage for something spectacular. Eberle corralled the puck within the low slot, pulled the puck to his backhand and beat Russian goaltender Vadim Zhelobnyuk to tie the game with only five.4 seconds on the clock.
The objective kept Canada’s gold medal expectations alive and brought the sold-out Scotiabank Location crowd into a craze.
Despite the obvious emotional attachment, the poised rookie was humble in his description of the moment.
"It was kind of my initial time when anyone truly got to watch me and start believing in me," laughed Eberle. "There had been a lot of good things that had to occur in order to make that perform. In that situation like that you obviously wish to be on the ice to be the guy that helps your team get back into a game, and obviously that was a big goal for us to remain within the tournament and give us a chance to win."
"It seemed like ever following that moment, too, we went into overtime and just dominated. Obviously, took it over in the final and it was a large point for us."
That goal helped ignite Canada, which ultimately led to the team’s gold-medal winning performance a few days later.
When all was stated and carried out, the two medals obtained by Eberle had been only component of the hardware equation. Eberle was named Tournament MVP and Greatest Forward in the 2010 tournament. In addition, Eberle’s performance put him at the top of the nation’s all-time leading goal-scoring list for Team Canada at the junior level.
An impressive resume, to say the least.
"Those individual accomplishments are nice, but at the end of the day you are truly going following one thing, and that’s the gold medal. We got it once, but it didn’t assist the heartbreak of losing final year," recalled Eberle.
"Winning is usually enjoyable. Always. But when you put on that Canadian sweater it just seems to increase the feeling. I had so significantly enjoyable playing in that tournament and also the memories are so extraordinary, so I hope to one day put that jersey on again and hopefully get back on top."
The Canadian bond was, again, something that Eberle highlighted as among the best parts of the Globe Junior Championship. In only a matter of days, strangers from different clubs turn out to be a family that aims to earn international glory.
"I’m still friends with a lot of them. Tyler Ennis, Tyler Meyers on Buffalo, Luke Adam. Even from both teams we speak a great deal. It is incredible the friendships you acquire in the small time that you are together."
When asked if Eberle could be watching the gold medal match as Canada looks to get back on top, his reaction was blunt; though fitting, considering the fantastic occasions and Canadian pride.
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