The 2016-17 season is quickly winding down for the Colorado Avalanche. For many however, there is still important hockey left to be played. Once the team wraps up their regular season slate, several Avs will be heading across the pond for the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
“It’s nice to have some familiar faces going over,” Pickard told Mile High Sports. “I went last year with [Duchene], went over there and had a lot of fun. This year is no different, [we’re] going to go over there and try to repeat as gold medalists.”
Duchene is the most seasoned of the bunch when it comes to the international stage. In addition to the World Championship, he has represented Canada at the Olympics, World Cup of Hockey and Spengler Cup, winning a championship at each. This will mark his sixth trip to the Worlds, as Canada looks to win their third straight gold medal.
“It’s always an honor to be asked. Obviously, a lot of responsibility comes with it,” Duchene said. “We’ve won the last two years and I’ve got to be a part of that, which has been great. We want to repeat again. We should be the favorites, so it’s just about going out there and getting it done.”
MacKinnon wanted to keep the focus on the Avalanche until after the season; but, after TSN let the cat out of the bag that he would be playing, he confirmed it to Mile High Sports.
“Yeah, I’m going to play,” MacKinnon said. “I just didn’t want to talk about it before the season was over. Since they reported it, I guess it’s out there now. It’s always an honor. I’m a very proud Canadian.”
Barrie echoed the sentiment. Not only do these players want to represent their country, they want to get back to playing winning hockey.
“Obviously, with the way the season’s went this year for us, it will be nice to go over there and play some really good hockey, and hopefully get a good feeling back around the game,” Barrie said. “Anytime you get a call from Canada it’s an honor, and it’s something that you want to do.”
Canada will head to Geneva, Switzerland at the end of April to prepare, prior to going over to Paris. The tournament is set to be contested between May 5-21, split between Paris and Cologne, Germany.
Though the Avalanche contingent all love representing their country, being named to the roster for the Worlds usually represents a lack of team success in the NHL, as the tournament runs during the NHL postseason.
“It would be great to go over there and win one more time,” Duchene told Mile High Sports of the Worlds. “Hopefully next year, it will be a playoff run instead.”