Captain Karl keeps silver cup close

SCOTT FISHER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:11 AM ET

Karl Alzner would have slept with the trophy.

If he could sleep.

Team Canada's captain hoisted the hardware yesterday after his squad won a fourth straight gold at the world junior championships.

He didn't let the silver cup out of his sight for the rest of the night.

Captain Karl: Keeper of the Cup.

"This was my last chance at this tournament," said Alzner, who also won gold a year ago in Sweden.

"I wanted to make sure I held onto it as long as I could."

After passing it around to his teammates, Alzner could be seen toting the prize around the rink, posing for picture after picture.

The Calgary Hitmen defenceman said he didn't know what to do after Matt Halischuk scored the overtime winner.

"I didn't even see it go in," he said. "I just saw helmets flying."

TSN replays showed Alzner taking a drink of water and then nearly hanging himself with his chinstrap as he struggled to discard his lid and join the Canadian dogpile.

The 19-year-old said he'll cherish this gold medal a bit more than the one he earned a year ago, when he was the seventh defenceman on a veteran team.

This time, he was the captain -- the go-to guy who played in every situation.

"Last year, it was my first time, so that was really big," he said. "But this one probably does mean a little bit more because I played a bigger role. I played pretty much every other shift.

"It's a really huge accomplishment the way this team rallied back."

The Burnaby, B.C., product said the support the team received from Canadian fans was beyond his expectations.

"They were unbelievable," Alzner shouted during a phone interview from the bus as his teammates sang O' Canada. "They were loud. They were with us when we were down and when things were going well.

"I don't think we could have done it without them."

As focused as he was on the task at hand in the Czech Republic, the Washington Capitals draft pick still kept tabs on his Hitmen.

"Oh yeah, I got updates every day, and I was always checking the website," he said. "I saw they crushed Kootenay 9-2 (Friday night). So I started thinking 'maybe they don't need me back.' "

Let's not get carried away.

There's always room for a world champion.


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