Soured on entire world junior experience

STEVE BUFFERY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

Every morning, my buddy Ed Zawadzki and I go for a coffee and then drive over to Centennial Park to see if we can spot any animals.

Just yesterday, we came upon this really nice coyote. For about 10 minutes I watched the big fella forage for food and urinate on trees and then said: "That's enough Ed, let's go look at the coyote."

Eddy and I enjoy our little excursions. We trade insults. I assure him that he's smarter than the average pole, meaning, of course, those wood things that hold wires, not the nationality.

He reminds me of the time in Grade 10 when I was thrown out of class for wearing a tutu. For the record, it wasn't a tutu. They were ripped jeans. I was swarmed by a pack of wolves on the way to school.

Anyway, Ed also enjoys telling me about his annual trips to Poland. Eddy loves connecting with his ancestral home but always adds that he is first and foremost a Canadian, and very proud of that fact.

I'm the same way. I enjoy my regular visits to my ancestral home (the Blue Goose Tavern in Mimico) but I'm also proud to be Canadian.

And so it is with some trepidation and shame that I stand here today and confess that I was hoping that Canada would have lost that gold medal game at the world junior hockey championship last weekend.

Hate me if you will (and some, believe it or not, do), but it just feels wrong that we should win the damn thing every year. It's four in a row and, with next year's event in Canada, will likely be five.

The thing is, there's no way Canada should be winning five world championships in a row in anything, other than barrel jumping.

To me, winning all these titles means that the rest of the world really doesn't care about our game ... and that's kind of sad.

We're always bragging about how great we are in hockey. But it's like the Thais bragging about how they rule in elephant polo. (There really is a World Elephant Polo Association, and we're ranked lower in elephant polo than we are in soccer ... believe it or not).

But what really turned me against the Canadian team was my old buddy, TSN commentator Pierre McGuire. I know ... I've picked on Pierre before. And, frankly, I don't really enjoy dumping on the dude because he is a nice man and he obviously knows a lot about hockey.

Pierre gets all gushy-like when he's talking about hockey people, especially Canadian hockey people. Everyone in hockey is a "quality individual." Every Team Canada skater is "a special player." Every Canadian coach is doing an "unbelievable" job behind the bench.

When members of Team Canada were lining up to receive their gold medals (yawn), Pierre started going on about how this one Team Canada trainer was an "underrated guy" because he sharpens skates and makes coffee -- all the stuff that Mother Teresa did when she was living in Calcutta. Underrated? I didn't know there was a rating system for trainers. I demand to know why the Canadian trainer scored so low.

Throughout the tournament, Pierre praised players (generally Canadian players) for their courage. In one game, he went on about a Canadian kid's courage after the kid won a battle for a loose puck.

I may be crazy, but to me, courage is charging a machine gun nest with a pistol. It's diving in a frozen river to rescue someone. It's sitting down at the dinner table when Bubba makes her special lasagna. That, my friends, is courage. Not passing the puck on a two-on-one.

In one game, Blake Geoffrion of the United States high-sticked a Canadian player and was slapped with a penalty. Pierre pointed out that the Canadian was bleeding.

But when the cameras showed that the Canadian player wasn't actually bleeding, Pierre solemnly announced that he wanted "to apologize to the Geoffrion family."

Apologize to the Geoffrion family? I thought, for Pete's sake Pierre, you didn't suggest the Geoffrion family was running moonshine across the border or was co-operating with al Qaeda. Why are you apologizing?

It was the weirdest thing I've seen on a hockey broadcast since that time Al Strachan lept out of his chair and started to break dance.

There was one last thing that drove me crazy. After the gold medal game, Pierre, who I thought was going to sob, said something along the lines of: "They never quit on the country they represented."

What the hell does that mean? Was he praising these kids for not defecting? I don't get it. Are there usually mass defections at world junior hockey championships?

If so, thank you Canadian hockey players. And thank you Pierre.

And thank you Mr. Coyote, for showing Ed proper grooming techniques.


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