Tic-tac-tao will be spoken of long after the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. It started when Coach Benoît Groulx said tic-tac-tao instead of tic-tac-toe a beautiful well-known goal scoring technique. While at first this mispronunciation was accidental it became a powerful mantra that kept the spirits and energy of the Canadian team throughout these games.
The IIHF World Junior Championship have become an annual post-Christmas into the New Year tradition in Canada for years. Starting on Boxing Day, Canadian hockey fans are glued to their television set for each game their country is playing in. This year was more special as they were taking place in Montreal and Toronto — home soil.
The IIHF World Junior Championship officially started in 1977 and has since been dominated by teams such as Canada, Russia, Czech Republic, Finland, Switzerland and the United States. Canada won gold for five straight years 2005 – 2009, then silver 2010 and 2011, bronze 2012 but since had not got a medal. So this year the stakes were high.
Our Canadian young men won all of the matches they played beginning with their opening game with Slovakia in Montreal. They cleaned the floor with the Slovaks winning the game by a whopping 8-0. One of everyone’s favourite matches was against the United States. It was nail bitingly close which left many with no nails left. The only solution had to be suffer through the rest of the competition sitting on your hands.
They again met the Slovaks in the semi-finals and as our young men suspected, the Slovaks were prepared. This game was no walk in the park. It was hard won and they advanced to the finals to meet an old foe, Russia. This was a very tense match. The Russians were not very kind and did not give up without a strong fight but with the mantra tic-tac-tao and a smile our players kept on playing like champions and won gold. Very satisfying indeed.
So what do we do now…