Tarnished silver

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

Not only did Robyn Regehr fly home from Austria without the gold medal he'd wanted, he also returned to Calgary without the silver.

Stepping off a transatlantic flight and into a small media scrum assembled at Calgary International Airport yesterday afternoon, Regehr mirrored Canada's disappointment with Sunday's loss to the Czechs by choosing not to wear the second-place medal around his neck.

In fact, he didn't even have it with him.

As far as he can recall, the medallion currently resides in a small bag containing his mouthguard and various toiletries shoved in with his hockey equipment.

With Hockey Canada in charge of delivering equipment to the players' respective homes over the next few days, the whereabouts of said medal can best be pinpointed as somewhere between Vienna and Vulcan.

"Hopefully, the hockey bag doesn't get lost," shrugged the Flames defenceman, extremely unconcerned with a medal destined for his father's office when -- or if -- it arrives.

"I didn't want to be carrying it or parading it around attracting all sorts of attention. You guys do a good enough job of that for me."

Obviously, disappointed with the finish to a month-long journey during which Canada fell one win short of a world championship three-peat, Regehr was content to do what the rest of the country did when Canada lost 3-0 -- shrug it off and move on.

After all, it wasn't at all like losing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final as Regehr's Flames did a year earlier.

"I don't know how to compare the two," said the burly defenceman, who also dealt with the disappointment of a gold-medal loss in overtime against the Russians at the 1999 world juniors.

"So much goes into the Stanley Cup when you think about the whole season and exhibition games. There's so much more put in emotionally and physically. Still, you're pretty close to the prize and to not get it done... Quite frankly, it's something I don't like. It seems to be happening a little too much lately."

Regehr took solace in the fact he and most of his teammates overcame a year on the sidelines to build towards a final game where Canada could just as easily have won.

"Going from playing oldtimer hockey in Rosthern, Sask., to playing Jaromir Jagr is a pretty big step to take," said Regehr of the transition.

"You don't want to justify losing but there were a lot of question marks going in with so many guys not playing this year.

"After the frustrating year we had, it was great to be on the ice again playing hockey and different playing against a lot of speed on the big ice and no red line. It's a real challenge for a defenceman. I had a lot of fun over there. It was a good month."

The 25-year-old bachelor will now spend the summer split between Calgary and his cottage in Saskatchewan, where he tows young campers behind his boat, teaching them how to kneeboard.

On July 22, he'll host his first charity golf tourney north of his cottage.

After that, who knows.

"Europe is a very good option for a lot of players," said Regehr, who chose to play shinny instead. "It's something I'll really take into consideration. If something doesn't happen here quickly, you'll see the majority of the NHL's 700 guys going there."

Where he'll unpack his hockey bag next is anyone's guess, leaving the fate of his silver medal as up in the air as his playing future.


Photos