As if having the hopes of a hockey nation pinned on their back as they head into tonight’s gold medal game against Sweden isn’t enough, two of Canada’s top players know they face another considerable distraction: The prospect of being traded.
Centre John Tavares — the most dominant player in the tournament, and his linemate Chris DiDomenico, a Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick — are in all likelihood not returning to their major junior teams.
The rebuilding Oshawa Generals are rumoured to be sending Tavares to either the Windsor Spitfires or the London Knights, while DiDomenico looks as if he’s off to the Drummondville Voltageurs after two-and-a-half seasons with the Saint John Sea Dogs. “I haven’t heard anything and they can’t announce anything until the tournament’s over,” DiDomenico said yesterday after practice.
Tavares has handled another potential distraction adeptly: All those questions about any rivalry with Swedish defenceman Victor Hedman over the possibility of being drafted first overall.
While both Tavares and DiDomenico face a change of address for now, tonight’s gold medal game at the world junior hockey championship against Sweden offers a life-changing opportunity for all involved.
“Everyone dreams of playing in this type of game and having this opportunity,” said Tavares.