Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League is proud to recognize 10 past and present OHL players in addition to a number of hockey operations staff members returning from the 2020 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship with gold as members of Canada’s National Junior Team, following a 4-3 win over Russia Sunday in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Trailing Russia 3-1 just beyond the midway point of the third period, the OHL’s comeback crew came alive as goals from Connor McMichael (London Knights), Barrett Hayton (Arizona Coyotes/Soo Greyhounds) and Akil Thomas (Niagara IceDogs) brought Canada all the way back to capture its 18th gold medal at the annual clash of international hockey powers. Thomas’ game winning heroics came with just 3:58 remaining in regulation.
Following the conclusion of the game, Hayton, who finished second in tournament scoring with 12 points (6-6–12) over seven games, was named to the tournament’s Media All-Star Team alongside former Soo Greyhounds teammate Rasmus Sandin of bronze medalist Sweden.
OHL talent returning home with gold includes forwards Quinton Byfield (Sudbury Wolves/Newmarket, Ont.), Ty Dellandrea (Flint Firebirds/Port Perry, Ont.), Aidan Dudas (Owen Sound Attack/Parry Sound, Ont.), Liam Foudy (London Knights/Scarborough, Ont.), Barrett Hayton (Soo Greyhounds/Peterborough, Ont.), Connor McMichael (London Knights/Ajax, Ont.) and Akil Thomas (Niagara IceDogs/Toronto, Ont.) along with defencemen Kevin Bahl (Ottawa 67’s/Mississauga, Ont.) and Jamie Drysdale (Erie Otters/Toronto, Ont.) as well as goaltender Nico Daws (Guelph Storm/Burlington, Ont.).
Staff members from OHL member teams returning home with gold include head coach Dale Hunter (London Knights/Petrolia, Ont.), general manager Mark Hunter (London Knights/Petrolia, Ont.), assistant coaches Andre Tourigny (Ottawa 67’s/Nicolet, Que.) and Alan Letang (Owen Sound Attack/Renfrew, Ont.), equipment manager Chris Maton (London Knights/London, Ont.) as well as head of security Bob Martin (London Knights/London, Ont.).
Canada finished the preliminary around atop the Group B standings with a 3-0-0-1 record after posting wins over the United States (6-4), Germany (4-1) and the Czech Republic (7-2), and dropping a 6-0 decision to Russia. The Canadians earned a chance to play for gold after defeating Slovakia (6-1) in the quarter-finals and blanking Finland (5-0) in the semi-finals.
All-time at the IIHF World Junior Championship, Canada has now won 18 gold medals (1982, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2015, 2018, 2020), 11 silver (1975, 1976, 1977, 1986, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2004, 20010, 2011, 2017) and six bronze (1974, 1978, 1983, 2000, 2001, 2012).
Canada will defend its gold medal on home ice when the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship comes to Edmonton and Red Deer, Alta., this December.
For more information on Canada’s National Junior Team, please visit HockeyCanada.ca or follow through social media on Facebook, Twitter and #WorldJuniors.