Aldergrove’s Shea Theodore has yet another gold medal to add to his collection after Canada’s U-18 men won all five games in international competition.
Canada won its fifth straight Memorial of Ivan Hlinka gold medal with its most complete game of the tournament, using a dominant forecheck to tire out a fading Finland team. Final score was 4-0 for Canada in the gold medal round, Saturday.
Canada’s team includes Aldergrove defenceman Shea Theodore (Seattle WHL), along with three other B.C.-born players: team captain Sam Reinhart of West Vancouver (Kootenay WHL), Nic Petan of Delta (Portland WHL) and Curtis Lazar of Vernon (Edmonton WHL).
Nathan MacKinnon scored a hat trick, including two on the power play, as Canada defeated the Finns 4-0 on Saturday.
“That was our best game from start to finish. Everybody bought in,” Canada coach Todd Gill said. “Our slogan was ‘I am willing,’ and everybody was willing tonight and it showed.”
Finland came into the game with the reputation of having the most North American style of all the European teams at the tournament. But the Finns couldn’t seem to keep up with the physical Canadians.
“They don’t back down. They’re in your face the whole game,” MacKinnon said. “They wanted it bad but I thought we just tired them out. We played good Canadian-style hockey. We’re really physical, which led to our success.”
Gill said that scouts for Canada’s under-20 team were at the tournament, and that his players showed they’re ready to take their game to the next level when the time comes.
“All of them, it looks like their future is bright to go forward,” he said. “I feel really good about Hockey Canada over the next two, three years.”
Also on Saturday, Sweden beat the Czech Republic 2-1 in the bronze medal game.
Canada scored a pair of power-play goals and beat the Czechs 5-2, Friday, to advance to the tournament final.
Canada was also the only team of eight to win all three preliminary games.
Canada opened the series on August 13 with a 4-1 win over Switzerland, followed by a 7-5 victory over Sweden on Tuesday and a 3-2 win over Slovakia on Wednesday.
Shea won his first gold medal at the age of 11 when his triple-A All-Star team won all 18 games and the gold medal in Europe.
Winning gold has become almost second nature for Shea, as his U-16 B.C. team won the gold at the Canada Winter Games in Halifax in February of 2011.
Shea was also the most outstanding player in the history of Aldergrove Minor Hockey, consistently averaging above 125 in the plus-minus, reaching a peak of 164 in his bantam year.
Shea’s uncle, Troy credits AMHA coaches Steve Howerton and Dan and Kris Armstrong for helping Shea develop into the player he is today.
Shea’s father, Cam said credit for Shea’s development should also go to coach Steve Potomak (seven years as Vancouver Selects coach) and Tim Preston of Impact Hockey Development, who has been Shea’s trainer for the past 10 years.
Shea had a great 2010-11 season with the BCMML’s Fraser Valley Bruins, netting 29 points in 35 games before being signed by Seattle to play the final four games of the WHL season. He went on to play 69 games and rack up 35 points for Seattle in the 2011-12 season, a remarkable number of games for a rookie. He was a third round selection, 64th overall, in the 2010 Bantam Draft.
Seattle Thunderbirds general manager Russ Farwell said, “This is an exciting achievement for Shea. To be included in the top 22 players in Canada is an honour and clearly serves notice that Shea will be pushing to be a high selection in next year’s NHL Draft. He is a very exciting offensive player and the best is yet to come as he gains strength and confidence.”