West Vancouvers Sam Reinhart had a couple of worries in the final moments of the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship gold medal game played Sunday in Sochi, Russia.
Reinhart, Team Canadas captain, suffered a shoulder injury midway through the third period and could only watch from the bench as Canada clung to a 3-2 lead over the four-time defending champions from the United States.
You kind of look at the time the whole way and it ticks down very slowly, Reinhart told the North Shore News after returning home from the tournament.
Canada did hold on, and as the final seconds spun away Reinhart and the rest of the team celebrated the win, becoming just the third Canadian team to win the 15-year-old tournament.
It was definitely pretty exciting the last couple of seconds, said Reinhart, adding that it was by far the biggest victory of his young hockey career. When the final buzzer sounded, however, there was one more worry. As team captain he would be the one handed the championship trophy but, with a bum shoulder, could he lift the cup with the necessary exuberance?
A couple of guys were laughing, wondering if Id be able to pick it up, said Reinhart with a chuckle. When the hardware was presented, Reinhart wasnt to be denied. I dont think I could (lift it) now but in the moment youre not worried about anything else. It was just so exciting at the time I wasnt thinking about it too much.
Before getting injured Reinhart chipped in three goals and four assists as Canada went undefeated in seven games. Head coach Don Hay picked him as team captain following the teams pre-tournament training camp in Toronto.
Reinhart will now have a whole summer to get his shoulder back into shape hes back home and finishing up the school year at Collingwood after spending the season with the WHLs Kootenay Ice. Reinhart led the team in scoring this season after being named WHL Rookie of the Year last season. His name is already being tossed around as a potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NHL draft. Nothing, however, has topped the feeling of pulling on a Team Canada jersey and representing the country, said Reinhart.
Its incredible. Throughout the year with your club teams theres so many games, you go through such a long year and you have to kind of look for motivation to get your legs going near the end of it. But whenever you get the chance to pull on that Canadian jersey it just gives you extra motivation and you start to feel the energy of the country behind you. Its really easy to get up for those games and get motivated.