With the IIHF World Junior Championship back in British Columbia for the
first time in 13 years and B.C. Hockey celebrating its 100th anniversary,
we asked the question … what are the best performances by B.C. natives in
World Juniors history?
NO. 2 – RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS
Hometown: Burnaby, B.C.
Minor Hockey Association: Burnaby Winter Club
2013 IIHF World Junior Championship
Statistics: 6GP 4G 11A 15P
Result: fourth place
Canada brought an impressive streak to Ufa, Russia, for the 2013 IIHF World
Junior Championship – it had won a medal in 13 consecutive years, dating
back at 1999. A perfect preliminary round sent the Canadians directly to
the semifinals, but losses to the U.S. and Russia – 6-5 in overtime – left
them off the podium.
Thanks to the ongoing NHL lockout, Nugent-Hopkins was front and centre for
Canada. The first-overall pick in the 2012 NHL draft and a Calder Trophy
finalist after an 18-goal rookie season with the Edmonton Oilers, the
Burnaby product captained the Canadian contingent in Russia and did not
Nugent-Hopkins was named Top Forward and led the tournament in scoring with
15 points, including 11 assists, one off the all-time Canadian record. He
opened with five points (1G 4A) in a win over Germany and added four more
(1G 3A) in the bronze medal game, bookending an all-star performance.
What are your memories of the 2013 World Juniors?
“It was in Ufa, Russia, which was definitely a bit different than a North
American experience, but the way it was organized, and the way Team Canada
took care of us I’ll always remember. We ended up not getting a medal that
year, which was definitely disappointing. That’s something where I wish I
could go back and do some things different, but it’s just the way it
happened. We lost in overtime to Russia in the bronze medal game, which was
pretty tough to take at the time. But the rest of it, being over there and
being on the team was something I’ll never forget. As a kid, you watch the
World Juniors every year, so actually getting to play on that team and
represent Canada was exciting.”
What do you remember from the bronze medal game against Russia?
“We would score, we would have momentum, but all of a sudden, they would
come right back down and score to re-take the lead. That happened a few
times. I don’t remember who scored and when, but I clearly remember it
going back and forth and not being able to hold on to any momentum we got
when we scored because they responded so quickly every time. It was a hard
fought game, and it was pretty exciting, but in the end, it was
disappointing to lose it the way we did.”
How do you look back on a tournament where you personally did very
well, but the team didn’t meet expectations?
“The personal stats and how I did doesn’t matter so much. When I think
about the tournament, I’m usually just thinking about how we didn’t medal
and how disappointing that was. It’s tough to think about anything else
really when it comes to that. I did have a good tournament, but if the team
doesn’t do well, it doesn’t mean much. I thought our team was really good,
and we should have done better. We probably had one bad game, against the
U.S. in the semifinals, that cost us a chance at gold. I wish we could have
pulled it out against Russia and got a medal.”