World Junior Hockey Championships hold special meaning for Carey Price

As a young up and coming goaltender, Carey Price first established himself with Team Canada where in 2007, he grabbed MVP honors after helping them strike World Junior gold.

Price, who in 2005 was selected first round, fifth overall by the Montreal Canadiens, was lights out two years later in Leksand Sweden at the World Junior hockey tournament. This traditional Christmas holiday tournament attracts attention of hockey fans from all across the globe.

It was during this event that Price posted a perfect 6-0 record that was capped off by a 25 save performance in a gold medal 4-2 win against Russia. This was Canada’s third straight World Junior gold medal and first on European ice in a decade. During that magical gold medal run Price, who is a native of the Ulkatcho reserve in Anahim Lake, not only as mentioned above led Canada to a tournament perfect 6-0 record, but also recorded two shutouts and a 1.14 GAA as he went on to win tournament MVP honors.

“When we got off to that quick start (Canada led 3-0 after one period) it was a lot easier for me to play,” Price said in reference to the gold medal game against Russia.  “When I’m playing behind a (defensive) group like that… they just let me play my game.” Reflecting on what made the World Juniors so special Price stated,

“It’s your first real exposure to the hockey world; it’s where you make your mark, whether it’s to impress the team you were drafted by, or even to impress the teams you wish to be drafted by. Obviously, it’s a little bit bigger of a deal in Canada than it is in other countries. There is a lot more coverage, and it’s an experience to be able to play for your hometown and have everyone see you on tv for the first time.”

The 2007 World Junior tournament, which started December 26, 2006 and went until January 5, 2007, saw Canada playing their preliminary round robin games out of the Group A division which also consisted of teams from Sweden, United States, Germany and Slovakia. Canada would make that early statement by going 4-0 during Preliminary round action which saw them score 14 goals in those four games while only surrendering four. Team Canada fans from all across the globe had reason to get excited as Price made an early tournament statement by standing tall as Canada on December 26, 2006, began that quest for a third straight gold with a 2-0 shutout win against Sweden.

The next day, Canada showcased an explosive offense during a 6-3 win against the USA squad as they held a 2-0 record during the preliminary round robin portion of the World Junior tournament.

The anticipation among Team Canada fans of another World Junior gold medal kept growing as Price was once again stellar on December 29 in a 3-1 win against Germany as they remained undefeated. Price would prove to be perfect in that fourth and final preliminary game which ended in Canada celebrating a 3-0 win against Slovakia.

Heading into the tournament’s playoffs, Canada was set to make World Junior hockey history as they took a giant step by first defeating USA by a 2-1 score in an epic semi-finals shootout that is still talked about today. Days later in early January, Team Canada celebrated history as they defeated Russia in capturing for Canada their 13th World Junior gold medal. Price’s hard work and talents didn’t go unnoticed as he was one of the Team Canada representatives to be selected on the tournament’s all -star team. Price was also selected as the Top Goaltender and as already mentioned Tournament MVP by the IIHF Directorate. While it might have been over a decade ago, chances are that every Christmas, when the World Juniors are being played, that Price can’t help but to have great flashbacks at what he, along with teammates, accomplished as they thrilled all of Canada by winning for Team Canada that third straight World Junior hockey gold.

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