It has been almost a week since the World Juniors have ended in Ottawa and I think that it is time to reflect on just what a great 2 week tournament not only this was but what a great tournament this is. Ottawa seemed to do a great job from top to bottom hosting the event. I heard nothing but good things, no horror stories no glaring problems or logistical difficulties. To manage to pull off a tournament of this magnitude and to shatter the attendance records (granted the event is rarely held in the same city and allowed for more of a cross section of available games and locations) was no small feat, from the execs to the volunteers to the great people handing out mini Febreeze’s...grabbed me a few bottles of those for myself. Eugene Melnyk was the face of this bid and did a great job. With that said, a huge hand goes to 67’s owner Jeff Hunt who had made many attempts in the past to year in and year out bid to get this tournament held in Ottawa. He knew what the tournament meant not only to Ottawa but to Canada.
The Canadian team’s “ Drive For Five” was an added storyline that just added to the excitement, not that as Canadians we needed any more reason to watch. TSN had the highest ratings ever on the network for the Gold medal game topping at 4.7 million viewers at its peak. Scotiabank Place was sold out Canada’s games and topped over 20,000 in a few games. Not bad for a city that is supposed to not be a “sports town”.
The one major downside and this will continue to be difficult to overcome in the near future is that after watching the tournament and going through the ups and downs, the roller coaster of emotions that the games put us through, we have been spoiled. The New Years Eve Classic that was dubbed as one of the best hockey games ever played, the 5.4 last seconds goal from John Tavares to Zach Boychuk and then to the gold medal game between Canada and Sweden. I watched 2 Sens games since the end of the tourney and compared to what i saw the 2 weeks prior the 2 NHL games could hardly be called hockey. No excitement no urgency and the game seemed to be slow and un-passionate. Hopefully that will change and the games will pick up but as for the Juniors they put on a great show and for those of us in Ottawa who were lucky enough to take in the tourney, we were treated to a great show and a great product.
Now it is time to attempt to collect some autographs from some of these young Canadian Hero’s.I have already gotten to meet 7 of them and get a mini Team Canada jersey signed when they did a signing at the SportCheck in Kanata right after the team was selected and on their way to Petawawa.
In closing, thanks boys you did the country proud and GO CANADA!