From Zack Rose’s dominant performances between the pipes to Dylan Holloway’s
international impact as a 16-year-old and Jacob Bernard-Docker’s steady
confidence on the blue line, there are plenty of memorable moments from the
last time the World Junior A Hockey Challenge came to Truro, Nova Scotia, in
The trio played key roles in leading Canada West to the gold medal, and the
experience on the East Coast has stayed with them as they’ve moved on in
their hockey journeys.
Rose – who earned MVP honours in 2017 – is in his fifth year of NCAA
eligibility with Augustana University, having fashioned a 20-10-4 record in
the college games; Holloway went 14th overall to the Edmonton Oilers in the
2020 NHL Draft; and Bernard-Docker was the 26th pick by the Ottawa Senators
But what ended up as a golden moment for Canada West didn’t start very well
at all; losses to
left the westerners 0-2 in preliminary-round play and needing to find their
game with the playoff round looming.
“We had a rocky start, but we figured things out after the round robin,”
Bernard-Docker says. “Having that necessary step of losing those first two
games, the team came together as a tight knit group and had fun, really
enjoyed the home crowd and turned it around.”
The winless prelims set up an all-Canadian matchup in the quarterfinals
against Canada East. West got off to a strong start, with Holloway finding
captain Carter Turnbull in the slot to open the scoring six minutes into the
game before Bernard-Docker joined the offence 67 seconds into the second
period when his his centre-ice dump took a bounce off the end boards and
past Canada East goaltender Jett Alexander.
Canada East wouldn’t back down, taking the lead in the third period when
Nick Campoli and Jack McBain (a 2022 Olympian) gave it a 3-2 advantage, but
Ross Armour tied the game with 6:31 left in regulation before scoring the
overtime winner 42 seconds into the extra period to second West on to the
The semifinal proved that Canada West was getting better as the games got
more important, as it avenged its prelim loss by
defeating the Czechs 5-1
. The game was a goaltending battle early, with Rose and Milan Kloucek
combining to stop 36 of 37 shots through 40 minutes.
Zdenek Sendek tied things midway through the third period, but Angus
Crookshank restored the West advantage 41 seconds after that, and Holloway,
Brett Stapley and Brendan Budy helped the Canadians pull away late.
The semifinal success set up a gold medal game showdown against the United
States, which had claimed four of the previous five tournament titles.
“The rivalry between U.S and Canada, nothing compares to that rivalry, and
that’s something you dream of being in as a kid,” Rose says. “To be a part
of that and dominate against them, it speaks to the talent we had on that
roster and the leadership of the coaching staff. To come out on top, we
played one game at a time and we didn’t look back once we had the
opportunity in front of us.”
Brendan Budy got the festivities started with a shorthanded marker midway
through the first period, and Crookshank and Corey Andonovski pushed the
Canadian advantage to 3-0 by the 12:15 mark of the second. The Americans got
one back before the intermission, but Armour and Holloway capped the scoring
finish off a 5-1 victory
Rose saved his best for the playoff round; he stopped 79 of 84 (a .940 save
percentage) in wins over East, the Czechs and Americans, capped by a
spectacular 35-save effort in the gold medal game, where West was outshot
“The experience was electric throughout the time in Truro, and especially
for the final game against the U.S,” Holloway says. “It was my first time in
the Maritimes, the crowd was packed, everyone was cheering for us. To play
the way I did, it was an honour to play for Canada and put me on the radar
with all the eyes that come to the tournament.”
Bernard-Docker adds, “At that point, I just wanted to improve and get better
after my first year with Okotoks [in the AJHL] and prepare myself the best I
could for college. That tournament put me on the map and helped me gain
confidence, realizing I could play with the best players around.”
Rose is forever grateful for the opportunity to represent his country.
Offering his advice for those playing in the tournament, he hopes players
take time to soak in the whole experience.
“For most people, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Rose says. “Take
in every moment because it’s so special to play for Canada. Beyond that, I
was a player who didn’t have a [college] commitment going into that
tournament, but playing a few good games turned that around and I got
offered a scholarship to go to Bowling Green and I gained the confidence and
the lessons from the coaching staff to play at that level.”
The World Junior A Hockey Challenge continues to be a tournament that sets a
foundation for a lucky few Junior A players across the country. Not only do
players gain experience, but they have memories to cherish for a lifetime.
“Thinking of all the history with that logo on your chest, nothing can beat
it,” Rose says. “Being able to represent millions of Canadians on the world
stage, there is no better hockey country than Canada, and to be able to be
one of the lucky people to wear that jersey, there is no better feeling. It
gives me chills just thinking back to it.”
The 2023 World Junior A Hockey Challenge gets underway Dec. 10 at the Rath
Eastlink Community Centre. Looking to be part of the festivities in Truro?
Tickets are now on sale at