Eleven WHL players win gold with Canada at 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship – Kamloops Blazers
Calgary, Alta. – The Western Hockey League is proud to recognize 11 current and former WHL players and four WHL personnel returning from the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship with gold as members of Team Canada, following a 3-2 overtime win over Czechia Thursday in Halifax, N.S.
Former Edmonton Oil Kings star and WHL Champion Dylan Guenther was the star of the gold medal game, registering the overtime winner to vault Canada to victory. The product of Edmonton also opened the scoring for Canada 12:41 into the first period of play. The Arizona Coyotes youngster added an assist in the second period, helping on a goal from captain Shane Wright.
Regina Pats captain Connor Bedard was the story of tournament, as he set a new Canadian record for career goals scored at the World Juniors with 17 tallies. Bedard also established a new Canadian mark for career points at the World Junior Championship with 36 points. The product of North Vancouver also recorded the most points by a Canadian player at any single World Junior Championship with 23 points (9G-14A).
Prior to Thursday’s gold medal game, two WHL players from Canada were named among the nation’s top-three players of the tournament, including Bedard and Logan Stankoven of the Kamloops Blazers.
Following the contest, Bedard was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Bedard and Czech goaltender Tomas Suchanek, who skates with the Tri-City Americans, were named to the All-Tournament Team.
WHL Players – National Men’s Junior Team
|Last Name||First Name||Team||Hometown||Height||Weight||Position|
|Milic||Thomas||Seattle Thunderbirds||Coquitlam, B.C.||6’1”||175||G|
|Allan||Nolan||Seattle Thunderbirds||Davidson, Sask.||6’3”||193||D|
|Korchinski||Kevin||Seattle Thunderbirds||Saskatoon, Sask.||6’3”||185||D|
|Zellweger^||Olen||Everett Silvertips||Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.||5’10”||182||D|
|Bankier||Caedan||Kamloops Blazers||Surrey, B.C.||6’2”||190||F|
|Bedard^||Connor||Regina Pats||North Vancouver, B.C.||5’10”||185||F|
|Dach||Colton||Kelowna Rockets||Fort Saskatchewan, Alta.||6’4”||205||F|
|Guenther*||Dylan||Edmonton Oil Kings||Edmonton, Alta.||6’2”||175||F|
|Ostapchuk^||Zack||Vancouver Giants||St. Albert, Alta.||6’3”||198||F|
|Schaefer||Reid||Seattle Thunderbirds||Spruce Grove, Alta.||6’4”||219||F|
|Stankoven^||Logan||Kamloops Blazers||Kamloops, B.C.||5’8”||170||F|
* – last skated with Edmonton Oil Kings in 2021-22.
^ – returnee from 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship gold-medal team.
WHL staff returning with gold include head coach Dennis Williams (Everett Silvertips), assistant coach Brent Kisio (Lethbridge Hurricanes), goaltending consultant Kelly Guard (Prince Albert Raiders), and equipment manager Gord Cochran (Regina Pats).
Canada finished second in Group A during the preliminary round, going 3-0-0-1 before defeating Slovakia and United States in the quarter-final and semifinal, respectively.
Six WHL players return with silver medals as members of Czechia, including goaltender Tomas Suchanek (Tri-City Americans), defenceman Stanislav Svozil (Regina Pats), and forwards Adam Mechura (Tri-City Americans), Robin Sapousek (Victoria Royals), Martin Rysavy (Moose Jaw Warriors), and Gabriel Szturc (Kelowna Rockets).