Now a shot at Calder

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 1:07 PM ET

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Clarke MacArthur had no idea he'd be back for a return engagement in Winnipeg.

As a member of Canada's World Junior Hockey Championship team, MacArthur became an adopted Manitoban, training in Winnipeg and Gimli before heading across the U.S. border to Fargo, N.D., for some gold mining.

These days, MacArthur is doing what he can to work his way into the lineup after signing an amateur contract offer with Rochester. The Americans travel to the Keystone province to face the Manitoba Moose at the MTS Centre on Monday night in the third game of the American Hockey League North Division final.

Back in December, MacArthur was one of the guys on the bubble, not sure he was going to stick around.

The speedy forward from the Medicine Hat Tigers impressed head coach Brent Sutter, who put him on the energy line with Colin Fraser and Stephen Dixon.

Helping his country capture a gold medal is something MacArthur will never forget.

GREAT MOMENT

"It's hard for it all to sink in after it happens. It's such a great moment for all the guys," said MacArthur, a third-round pick (74th overall) of the Buffalo Sabres in the 2003 NHL entry draft. "To look back on it now after three or four months, it's such a great accomplishment, just to make the team let alone win the gold. I was very fortunate to get one of the final spots on the team. It was a great time for me in my life."

MacArthur relished the role of being a checker and contributing to the penalty kill. He also chipped in with four goals.

"We had all the big gunners, so I wasn't a priority to watch out there," he explained. "I got lots of room and it was easy for me. It wasn't my role to score, that's probably why I scored a few. It was a change from my league play and I was happy to do it."

After taking about a week off to recuperate following the tournament, MacArthur returned to his junior team and didn't suffer much of a letdown.

MacArthur and his Tigers teammates were hoping to repeat as Western Hockey League champs and get back to the Memorial Cup but Winnipegger Rejean Beauchemin put an end to that plan by backstopping the Prince Albert Raiders to an upset win in the second round of the playoffs.

Having an opportunity to join the AHL's best team in the regular season and one of the favourites to win the Calder Cup is a pretty good consolation prize.

"The guys have been really good to me," said MacArthur, who has seen world junior teammates Jeff Carter, Ryan Getzlaf and Kenora's Mike Richards all make a contribution in the Calder Cup playoffs. "If I do get a chance to play, it will be great. If not, I'll leave here with a good experience and hopefully come back here next year.

"I won the AJHL (Alberta Junior Hockey League) championship my first year, won the Western League and the gold medal. Now I've got a shot at winning this too."

One of MacArthur's new teammates is Daniel Paille, a rookie winger who was captain of Team Canada in 2004 at the world junior tournament.

Settling for silver after the heartbreaking loss to the United States was tough, but seeing Canada come through this year made Paille proud.

"It was special for them and I was real happy for them," said Paille, who watched the gold medal game against Russia on TV in Edmonton during a road trip. "I talked to a couple guys on the team and they seemed to be very confident in themselves to get the job done. They had a lot of experience, I didn't want to give any motivational speech because they already knew what needed to be done."


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