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Heatley, Spezza joined forces at WJC

Senators forwards helped Canada to a pair of gold medals with 'chemistry'

Monday, 05.01.2009 / 11:33 AM / 2009 World Junior Championship
By Rob Brodie  - OttawaSenators.com
The tournament must end but the friendships live on.

So it is for many who participate in the IIHF World Junior Championship. Years after they’ve taken part in the prestigious event, you’ll find players talking about their time there with Team Canada. It’s a favourite topic of conversation across the National Hockey League when this time of the year rolls around.

“You’re going to have fun and you’re going to make friendships that you’re going to have for a long, long time,” Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza said about his world junior experience, which spanned three tournaments from 2000 to 2002. “It’s almost 10 years now since my first world juniors and still, when we play guys (who were a part of it), you see them and stop and talk in the hallways.

“It’s a pretty special tournament. You spend your Christmas together and it’s pretty big.”

Spezza said “that’s probably the biggest thing I remember, meeting the guys and being around the guys. Some still remain friends to this day. I played junior with Steve Ott (of the Dallas Stars) and roomed with him at world juniors. Jarret Stoll (of the Los Angeles Kings) is a guy who I played with at world juniors and still talk to regularly.”

Spezza and Senators teammate Dany Heatley first “became buddies” at world juniors – they were part of Team Canada bronze-medal entries in 2000 in Skelleftea, Sweden, and 2001 in Moscow (Spezza also won a silver with Canada in 2002 in the Czech Republic).

Heatley knew almost immediately that he’d found an ideal linemate.

“We didn’t score a ton of goals but we definitely had chemistry,” he wrote in his recently released book, Dominant Dany Heatley. “I was kind of snake-bitten at the (2000) tournament, which was frustrating. I hit so many posts and so did Jason, though the one thing I learned was that I liked playing with him.”

For Spezza, just making the 2000 team as a 16-year-old was a bit of a surprise.

“I didn’t expect to be there,” he said. “I knew going to that (selection) camp that they probably invited my and (defenceman Jay Bouwmeester) just to get some experience. The only way we could really make that team was to have an unbelievable camp.

“Things went really well for us. The puck went in for me and he played real well, so I think we both surprised them.”

Heatley has gone on to represent Canada at the 2006 Torino Olympics and multiple world hockey championships (Spezza was a teammate at the 2008 IIHF worlds in Quebec City and Halifax). He relishes every opportunity he gets to wear the red maple leaf, saying “I can’t tell you how much I love playing for my country.”

"You know the whole country is behind you," added Heatley. "Just growing up, you know the passion that everyone has and it's just a different feeling. When you're playing on your own (NHL) team, you know your city is behind you but when you go into another city, you're the enemy.

"But with Team Canada, it's all about the country, it's all about winning for the (red) maple leaf. It's definitely an awesome feeling playing for Canada."


STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
3 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
4 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
5 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
6 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
7 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
8 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Karlsson 82 20 54 -15 74
J. Spezza 75 23 43 -26 66
K. Turris 82 26 32 22 58
C. MacArthur 79 24 31 12 55
B. Ryan 70 23 25 7 48
A. Hemsky 75 13 30 -15 43
M. Michalek 82 17 22 -25 39
M. Zibanejad 69 16 17 -15 33
M. Methot 75 6 17 0 23
P. Wiercioch 53 4 19 -1 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Anderson 25 16 8 .911 3.00
R. Lehner 12 15 6 .913 3.06
SENS ARMY FAN POLL