Sports

DJ Smith Helps Canada Win Gold at World Hockey Championships

For the first time since 2017, there were no current Ottawa Senators players on Team Canada’s entry into the World Hockey Championships this month in Latvia/Finland. But head coach D.J Smith was there to represent the Sens’ banner, serving as an assistant for the second year in a row.

 

Smith is definitely glad he was.

 

 

 

Last year, Smith had to settle for silver, along with Drake Batherson, Thomas Chabot and Nick Holden. This year, he was a solo Sens act and now he’s coming back home with a gold medal.

 

St. Lous Blues’ forward Sammy Blais scored twice as Canada beat Germany 5-2 in the gold medal game on Sunday. Lawson Crouse, captain Tyler Toffoli (former Ottawa 67) and Scott Laughton also scored, while Peyton Krebs chipped in with two assists.

 

Toffoli wasn’t the only Ottawa 67s alumni in the tournament.

 

 

 

Canada’s head coach Andre Tourigny represents both 67s and Senators’ alumni. He’s a former 67s head coach and was also NHL assistant in 2015-16 behind Dave Cameron, the 67s current head coach. Defenceman Mackenzie Weegar and forward Jack Quinn, both from Ottawa, also suited up for Canada. Weegar was named top defenceman of the tournament.

 

With the victory, Canada lays claim to a record 28th gold medal at this tournament. And Smith can really belt out a tune when he wants to.

 

 

 

Germany was in the gold-medal game for the first time since 1992 when the current playoff format was introduced. The last Canada-Germany final was in 1930, at a time when Hitler was starting to rise to power, and Canada won in Berlin, 6-1.

 

The bronze medal game was also filled with drama and a little former Senators content to boot. Latvian captain Kaspars Daugavins was in the Sens’ organization for 7 years and assisted on the game winning, overtime goal as Latvia shocked America 4-3. 

 

 

 

Former Senator Rudolfs Balcers and ex-Belleville Senator Kristians Rubins were also part of Latvia’s roster.

 

Latvia has never even played for an IIHF medal, let alone won one. While the game was played in Finland, Latvian fans filled the arena and the goal touched off a national hockey party back in Riga that may last for a long time.

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