Local hockey players return home from World Juniors
Published Monday, January 7, 2013 7:07PM AST
There was much excitement surrounding the selection of fan favourite Nathan MacKinnon to the Canadian World Junior hockey team, but after the team’s medal shutout at the tournament in Ufa, Russia, he arrived home to little fanfare.
“We didn't want the finish we had, but it was a great experience and a good experience to check off in the memory bank for sure,” MacKinnon told CTV News after landing in Halifax Monday.
As the star of the Halifax Mooseheads, MacKinnon isn’t accustomed to losing. A fourth-place finish at the World Juniors has his fans criticizing the team’s coaches for his lack of time on the ice.
“Obviously I wanted to play a little more, but the tournament is not about me, it's about what's best for the team and there are a lot of talented players ahead of me in the lineup. So, no complaints for sure,” says MacKinnon.
MacKinnon will re-join the Mooseheads this week, along with his World Junior teammate Jonathan Drouin and Martin Frk, who played for the Czech Republic.
Their coach, Dominique Ducharme, says their time spent at the tournament will only benefit the Mooseheads.
“The bottom line is, they will come out of it better players and for us it will help because they will make our team better,” says Ducharme.
“I've been gone for a month, so it feels like a really long time and that's my main priority now, is helping the Mooseheads win,” says MacKinnon.
The Mooseheads are expecting to play to a packed house at the Halifax Metro Centre on Friday, as all three of the team's world junior players rejoin the herd as they take on the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.
The players will also be recognized for their play in Russia prior to the game.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kelland Sundahl