Golden boys show their mettle

SCOTT FISHER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

Zach Boychuk didn't even get off the ice before his gold medal was broken.

It didn't matter to him.

It just added a little character to his most prized possession.

"We were going to take the team picture, and everybody wanted to be right in front," said the Airdrie product, proudly displaying his world junior gold medal, which was tied in a knot on the back of his neck upon arrival yesterday at the Calgary International Airport.

"I was at the front in the beginning, and then everybody started piling up on me and the (ribbon) ripped off. I fixed it -- just tied it up.

"Just being able to wear it and show people you did it for your country, it's really exciting."

Calgary Hitmen blueliner Karl Alzner, who captained Team Canada to its fourth straight title, only took his medal off once -- and that was because he had to.

"It has only come off when we were going through (airport) security," Alzner said of his second gold medal scored from the IIHF World Hockey Championships.

"But I'm probably going to wear it the rest of the day, for sure. Then I'll put it on the shelf (at home in Burnaby) and bring it back to Calgary."

Alzner, who accepted the world junior trophy after Team Canada beat Sweden 3-2 in overtime, decided to have some fun with the other passengers on the plane yesterday from Frankfurt, Germany.

"We toured the aisles and got to show everybody the trophy. They took pictures with it and got to touch it. It was in the cockpit for a lot of the flight, so it's been around."

Captain Alzner, who will be back in Hitmen silks next Sunday when the Edmonton Oil Kings visit the Saddledome, said the fact this team had to fight for everything it got made victory taste a little sweeter.

"We maybe went into the tournament with the mindset we were going to be the best team without a doubt and have our way with things," he said.

"We got a little bit of a surprise in one of the games and ended up losing.

"But after that, we became such a great team."

But having to go to sudden death in the final was almost a little too much adversity.

"I'd like to say that's the way we wanted to end it, taking it in overtime and making all of our hearts stop. But it wasn't. We're just happy the way the team came together at the end. We're incredibly tight. It seems like everybody is best friends."

The team didn't get a chance to celebrate it's accomplishment in Pardubice, Czech Republic.

After a short party in the dressing room, the players climbed on the team bus for a five-hour trip to Vienna, Austria.

"It was awesome," Alzner said of the boisterous bus trip.

"Everybody finally got a chance to sit back and relax and soak it all up.

"(Overtime hero Matt) Halischuk still couldn't believe he had scored the goal. We had some time to look back at all the fun moments and have a little laugh about them and realize we accomplished what we came to do."

Red Deer Rebels captain Brandon Sutter appeared as though he was looking forward to crawling into his bed.

"It was long," Sutter said. "We didn't leave the rink until about one in the morning.

"It was a long bus ride, and I didn't get much sleep.

"But I'll sacrifice sleep for something like this."


Videos

Photos