| Date of Birth:
February 21, 1976
Place of Birth: Banff, AB
Years on National Team:
Weight: 190 lbs
They don't call Ryan Smyth "Captain Canada" for nothing. For seven consecutive years, from 1999 through 2005, Hockey Canada has asked Smyth to don his country's colours at the World Championships, and seven times Smyth has said yes. On the last five occasions he has worn the "C" as team captain, thus the apt nickname.
In 60 career games at the World Championships, the most among active Canadian players, the Edmonton Oilers' forward has accumulated 15 goals and 16 assists. He also has a pair of gold medals (2003, 2004) and one silver (2005) to show for his last three trips alone.
After three years in the rough Western Hockey League with Moose Jaw in the early 1990's, Smyth was selected by Edmonton with the sixth pick of the 1994 draft. Incidentally, in that same draft Olympic teammate Ed Jovanovski went first overall to Florida. The Oilers didn't believe Smyth was ready for the NHL and returned him for a final year of junior. In the 1994-95 season with Moose Jaw, he displayed his scoring chops with 41 goals and 45 assists in just 50 games and was named to the WHL East Second All-Star Team.
One year later, Smyth made the jump to the big time, notching 11 points (2-9-11) in 48 contests with the Oilers. In his sophomore NHL season in 1996-97, Smyth got tongues wagging, exploding for a still career-best 39 goals. Although he has been unable to reach that number again in the following seven seasons, he has become one of the most respected blood and guts players in the league.
In 2002, when he returned quickly, perhaps prematurely, from a broken ankle to play in the Salt Lake City Olympics, he solidified his reputation as a player willing to go the extra mile to get the job done. His willingness to do the tough work in the corners and his unwavering loyalty are the main reasons why he has become such a go-to guy for Team Canada.
In 2005-06, there may have been players with better regular season NHL statistics that could have gone to Turin, but you can bet Smyth's teammates will be happy knowing he's on the bench.
2006 Hockey Coverage