Chipchura leads by example

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:21 AM ET

Peter Anholt is confident Kyle Chipchura will be wearing the Maple Leaf when Canada lines up for the World Junior hockey championships.

Anholt, head coach of the Prince Albert Raiders, knows Chipchura well.

He made the 19-year-old out of Vimy, Alberta, his captain. And he's counting on big things from his captain upon his return from the world juniors.

"Not only do I think he's going to make it, but I think he's going to be one of the captains," said Anholt. "I think that he's going to play on that team and he's going to be a leader on that team.

"I think (Canadian head coach) Brent Sutter thinks a lot of him and really holds him in high regard as far as being a leader on that team. I would be very surprised if he didn't make it and wasn't a leader on that team."

Had it not been for a severed Achilles tendon, Chipchura could already have been a world junior champion.

Last year, the Raiders captain was expected to be part of the world junior team before he suffered the injury in practice.

"I don't know if I would have been selected if I didn't get hurt," he said.

"But it would have been nice to get an opportunity to play on that team."

Despite the injury, Chipchura was able to return to the Raiders' lineup during the playoffs.

"His first reaction after the injury was that he was going to be back within three or four weeks," Anholt said.

"That was his first reaction, but of course we knew different. We knew it was going to be an extensive injury. But he was real positive through the whole thing and worked real hard to get back."

It's Chipchura's work ethic which should earn him a spot on the world junior squad. It's the same work ethic that could make him a solid National Hockey League player.

"Kyle is kind of a throwback to the old days as far as a player goes. He plays hurt, he's one of those guys that rallies players around him," Anholt said.

"Players love to play with him and be on a team with him. He's just one of those special guys, if you're a player you want to play with him."


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