Where are they now? column

Mike Zeisberger -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

GORD KLUZAK

BRUINS DEFENCEMAN

MAYBE THERE simply was no tape.

Maybe the organizers had misplaced it.

Or maybe, Gord Kluzak recalled, no one had expected Canada to win its first gold medal at the world junior championship.

Yet here were Kluzak and his teammates, standing on the blue line at a small arena in Rochester, Minn., waiting to hear O Canada as an acknowledgement of their tournament victory at the 1982 world junior tournament.

There was just one problem.

"They didn't have a recording of the Canadian anthem," Kluzak said the other day. "So we improvised. We all just sang it out loud."

Canada had just tied the Czechs to finish off the round-robin tournament at 6-0-1 to capture the title. The outcome came as a surprise to many observers, who figured either the favoured Soviets or Swedes would win gold.

"There we were, playing at this little rink on the final day of the competition while the Soviets and Swedes faced each other down at the Met Center," Kluzak said. "Almost everyone had expected one of those teams to win it all."

Prior to 1982 Canada had sent the defending Memorial Cup champions to represent the country at the world juniors. That format brought minimal success.

By changing the mindset and putting together a squad of the top Canadian players in the country, however, a new era was ushered in for Canada at the world juniors.

Led by the likes of Kluzak and Kingston goaltender Mike Moffatt, the Canadians outscored the opposition 45-14 in a truly dominating performance. Included in that resume was the worst loss ever handed to a Soviet team, a 7-0 spanking at the hands of the Canadians.

These days Kluzak, whose promising career with the Boston Bruins was cut short because of a series of knee injuries, carries the title of vice-president, private wealth management at Goldman-Sachs Co., in Boston. The Harvard grad also serves as a colour analyst for Bruins games on the New England Sports Network.

Kluzak, whose gold medal is showcased at his parent's house in Medicine Hat, Alta., will be glued to the tube when the Canadian juniors take on the Russians tonight in Grand Forks, N.D.

"Of course I'll be cheering for Canada." he said.


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