Smyth chasing historic 3-peat

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:41 AM ET

CALGARY -- No Canadian hockey player has ever done it before. Ryan Smyth, Roberto Luongo and Dany Heatley have a chance to become the first Canadians to win three consecutive IIHF World Hockey Championships when they embark tomorrow on a trip which will end up in Innsbruck and Vienna.

"I didn't know about it until three or four days ago,'' said Smyth, who will join Team Canada on the ice for his first practice here today.

"I think it was Johnny Misley that mentioned it to me on the phone,'' he said of the Team Canada vice-president. "When he told me, I thought 'wow.'

"I think it's kinda neat. I think it's quite an accomplishment just being selected to be on this team of such great players.

''I've always viewed playing for Canada to be an honour and a privilege by itself. But to do something like this - to threepeat - that would be extremely exciting for everybody.''

Smyth, who won Olympic gold in Salt Lake and gold at the World Cup of Hockey in September, says he remembers the Edmonton Mercurys, Olympic and world champions in 1952 to complete the last Canada threepeat, on the ice in Edmonton for special recognition at an Oiler game.

"Seeing those guys out there still being recognized was special then. That was for the Olympics. Now they have something else to be recognized for.

''That's phenomenal.''

Luongo, who was the backup for the first goal two years ago in Finland, only to find himself in the final due to an injury situation, was the first stringer all the way last year in Prague.

This year he's back to being the backup to Martin Brodeur as he was on the gold medal-winning World Cup of Hockey Team Canada.

Even if he only manages to get into a game or two, Luongo says he'll take the claim to fame.

"It would be very special to be part of the history books,'' he said.

Heatley said there were so many players who shared the back-to-back golds, he never thought of it as only three players with a chance to win three.

"We had a core group of six or seven over the years,'' said Heatley, the Calgary native who has played for a Team Canada every year this century, the first three in the World Juniors and now three straight at the world championship.

"I think it would be great for Canada to win three in a row. And to be one of only three guys to play on all three teams. That really would be special.''


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