Four Vancouver Canucks players participated in this year’s International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship with Team Canada’s Tyler Myers and Ethan Bear coming away with Gold Medals. Bear missed the final two games due to injury.
Latvian goalie Arturs Silovs starred. The fulltime Abbotsford Canucks netminder was named Most Valuable Player in the tournament, just the fifth goalie in history to earn the honour, was named the goaltender on the media’s all-star squad, and chosen best goalie by the IIHF Directorate.
Playing in all ten games for the co-host country while starting nine in a row, Silovs eventually back-stopped his team to a Bronze Medal with a 4-3 overtime victory against Team USA on Sunday. It was his country’s first ever medal at the IIHF’s highest level.
Meanwhile, Canucks forward Conor Garland was part of the American squad that lost to Latvia and finished just out of the medals.
Golden Canucks Defencemen
Canucks defenceman Tyler Myers, playing 35 shifts with the tournament’s leading scorer among defenceman and a member of the event all-star squad MacKenzie Weegar, skated for 24:44 in the Gold Medal game, just a handful of seconds less than his partner. The 6-foot-8, 230-pound minute muncher for Team Canada felt comfortable throughout the tournament.
“I think our group was still looking to get to the level we had to. We just hadn’t seen it yet,” Myers told the media after scoring the game winning goal in the finale of the preliminary round in a 3-1 win against Czechia. “I think we got there tonight. It’s good for us to feel it in the first and third periods. I didn’t like our second, but I thought we responded how we needed to in the third. We just need to keep that level going.”
The Canadians kept it going alright, with a 4-1 win over the defending champion and co-host Finland in the crossover quarterfinals, a 4-2 win over eventual Bronze Medalist and co-host Latvia in their semi-final match-up, and a 5-2 win in the Gold Medal battle against Germany.
Myers was named Canada’s “Best Player” on May 22nd in a 3-2 shoot-out loss to the Norwegians. His tourney goal total matched that of his entire previous season with the Canucks in 78 games. Maybe the big man likes playing on the big international ice.
Myers is entering the final year of a contract with the Canucks that will pay him $6-million.
Fellow Canucks right-handed D-man Ethan Bear last played in the quarter-final, skating 14:56 and finishing plus-one against the Finns. He sat out the final two matches due to an apparent upper body injury.
Bear is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights.
— Maple Ridge native and former Canucks defenceman Brad Hunt played 11:21 in the Gold Medal game and was a 3rd-pair fixture throughout the tournament. Former Canucks forward Tyler Toffoli captained Team Canada and scored a goal in the final. Vancouver native and former Memorial Cup winner with the Giants in major juniors Milan Lucic also played a strong role.
With Latvia winning their first ever medal, Silovs will never have to buy another drink in his hometown of Riga. The team’s first eight games of the tournament were played in front of their fans before they moved to Tampere, Finland for the semi-final and Bronze Medal game. He made 26 saves in the victory over the Americans.
Silovs will enter the fall with one season remaining on his entry-level deal with the Canucks. We detailed his efforts in Abbotsford last season during the World semi’s. With no one set in the back-up position at this point in Vancouver, the 22-year-old, 6-foot-4, 205-pounder might be ready for primetime as an affordable option.
No Garland For Garland
Team USA fell short of having medals draped around their necks after playing dominant hockey throughout the preliminary round. When it mattered most, as they so often do at Worlds, the Yanks fell short.
Garland, presently with three seasons remaining on a Canucks contract that pays him close to $5-million per, ended up with 16:22 of ice time in the Bronze Medal game, four shots on goal, and a minus-2 statistic.
Team USA has played in the World Championship semi-final seven times in the last ten tournaments and lost every time.