Dakota display pays tribute to golden boys

KIRK PENTON -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

There they sit in the Dakota Community Centre foyer, tangible red and white signs that the dream can be attained.

The Dakota complex has erected a display that pays tribute to the young Winnipeggers who played their hockey there and won gold medals in international events in the last year.

'Inspiring'

The shrine features sweaters, name tags, pucks and autographed pictures of last year's junior and under-17 world championship hockey teams.

The players honoured are Nigel Dawes and Rejean Beauchemin from the Canadian junior squad, along with Jonathan Toews, Blair Macaulay and Justin Guttek from the Team Western entry that won the under-17 title.

Toews is also a member of this year's Canadian junior squad, which took on the U.S. last night at the world championship in Vancouver.

Scott Osadchuk, a member of the Westridge Flyers 12A2 minor hockey team, said the display sends a powerful message.

"It's inspiring that someone from Winnipeg or who started off as a young hockey player could go that far and win a gold," said Osadchuk, who had just finished playing a game in the Christmas Challenge tournament.

Drew Davies and Matt Hanks, both 11 years old, play in the Pembina Valley minor hockey system in St. Norbert. They took in the display yesterday with Matt's younger brother Stuart, who is nine.

Stuart Hanks would love to have his sweater on display some day, while Davies can only imagine what it must be like to represent your country.

"It's special, because there's only so many people that make it," he said. "Not very many people make that team, so you want to be one of them and want to do the best that you can."

Matt Hanks, meanwhile, figures this year's Canadian junior team, which includes of Winnipeg's Cam Barker, Dustin Boyd and Toews, is looking good for gold.

"I think they've got a really good chance," Matt said, "but it's going to be a tough ride to get there."


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