wjc top 100 ryan walter

B.C. at the World Juniors – No. 10: Ryan Walter

The Burnaby native served as Captain Canada when the IIHF World Junior Championship came to Montreal in 1978

Jason La Rose
November 19, 2018

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?

Hometown: Burnaby, B.C.
Minor Hockey Association: Burnaby MHA

1978 IIHF World Junior Championship
Statistics: 6GP 5G 3A 8P
Result: bronze medal

The 1978 IIHF World Junior Championship marked the first time the tournament was played on Canadian ice, and the first time Canada sent a national team as its representative (in previous years – and from 1979-81 – the Memorial Cup champions wore the Maple Leaf).

Walter, in the midst of a 125-point season with the Seattle Breakers, was chosen to wear the ‘C’ and lead a team that included future NHLers like Mike Gartner, Rick Vaive, Bobby Smith, Craig Hartsburg and a 16-year-old Wayne Gretzky, who led the tournament in scoring.

The Burnaby product spread his offence across the tournament, scoring in four of the six round-robin games, including the game-winner in the opener against the United States. His biggest outburst came in a 6-5 loss to Sweden, when he scored twice and added an assist.

What was it like to play in Montreal, at the fabled Forum?
“Playing in front of the Montreal crowd was an amazing experience. It was like playing in the mecca of the hockey world, in front of fans that didn’t hold [their emotions] back. I remember the seats at the rink were always shiny. Lots of snow had fallen during the week prior to the tournament so heading to the arena had a magical feel to it. Players needed to enjoy the moment. They needed to know the outcome that they wanted, without necessarily focusing on it. In these types of championships, you can’t look too far ahead. If you do so, you tend to forget the process you need to go through in order to get to that specific outcome.”

What did it mean to you to be selected as captain of that team?
“To be a captain of a short-tournament team is different is very much different than being the captain of a team where you’re playing on it for a whole season, or you’ve been on the team for three or four years. So, it was interesting. Somebody had to be captain, and you could have picked four or five of those players to be captain; it was a real honour for me.”

How have you seen the World Juniors evolve?
“I think the big change I’ve seen is the importance of it. I think it was always a place to show off your skill, but now if you look back at the World Juniors, you’re going to see that many of those players have long NHL careers. It’s become a preview of some of the best players in the world. It’s also heightened the importance of teams participating, but also winning. When Sweden goes to the World Juniors, they’re not looking to finish top three or four, they’re looking to win. Russia is looking to win, Finland, and many other countries are expecting to win. And that’s obviously true of Canada as well. And I love that, I love the compete level. It’s not just the players on the ice, it’s the people in the country that are also moving toward those expectations.”

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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