Kapanen, Leafs teammates excited to watch world junior championship

Kapanen, Leafs teammates excited to watch world junior championship

TORONTO — Kasperi Kapanen expects there will be some good natured chirping in the Toronto Maple Leafs locker-room when the world junior hockey championship begins on Boxing Day.

Kapanen represented Finland in two world juniors, scoring in overtime against Russia in the gold-medal game of the 2016 tournament. With most of the Maple Leafs having played in the world juniors at least once — 17 of Kapanen’s teammates have competed in the annual tournament — he expects it will be a hot topic during their down time.

“I’m sure it will get pretty competitive,” said Kapanen. “World juniors are world juniors. I’ve been lucky enough to win it once and I’m sure there are a lot of guys on this team that have also won it back in the day. I’m sure it will get plenty competitive.”

A testament to the Maple Leafs’ youth movement is that five players on the current rosters competed with or against each other at the world juniors in Helsinki in 2016.

In addition to Kapanen, who won gold with Finland, forward Mitch Marner and defenceman Travis Dermott represented Canada, Auston Matthews played for the United States before getting drafted by Toronto the next summer and William Nylander played in half a game for Sweden before getting concussed by a brutal check to the head.

Forward Dmytro Timashov, who also played for Sweden in 2016, is a member of the Toronto Marlies, the Maple Leafs’ affiliate in the American Hockey League.

“It’s crazy,” said Kapanen. “They’re all amazing hockey players and they deserved to be there. At the time, it was cool to see them and meet them back then.”

Kapanen’s game-winning goal in 2016 came after Russia tied the game 3-3 with six seconds left in the third period. In extra time, Kapanen deked around two defenders, skated around the back of Russia’s goal and threw the puck into a wide-open net as goaltender Alexander Georgiev failed to dive back into position, bringing the sold-out crowd at Hartwall Arena to its feet.

“People play it sometimes and I see it and obviously it’s a great moment, but it’s in the past,” said Kapanen. “I’ve been lucky enough to win it once, the most amazing feeling ever, but I think Finland has a good chance to win it every year now and I hope that they play well this year.”

Canada kicks off its world junior tournament against Denmark in Vancouver on Wednesday. Kapanen’s countrymen will face Sweden in Victoria later that night.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta recorded a single-day record of over 57,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta hits daily record of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Central zone has administered 111,735 doses of the COVID-19

Alberta reported an additional 1,980 cases of COVID-19 Friday. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Red Deer adds 37th death from COVID-19, active cases drop

Alberta Health identified an additional 1,980 cases of the virus province-wide

A rodeo south of Bowden drew a huge crowd on May 1 and 2, 2021. (Photo courtesy Mom’s Diner’s Facebook page)
FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman didn’t expect to get hit with a double whammy at… Continue reading

A courtroom at the Edmonton Law Courts building, in Edmonton on Friday, June 28, 2019. The effect of the coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on the Canadian justice system warn a number of legal experts. The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench announced Sunday it would adjourn all scheduled trials across the province for at least 10-weeks limiting hearings to only emergency or urgent matters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of five-year-old girl

EDMONTON — An Edmonton woman was found guilty Friday of manslaughter in… Continue reading

A Statistics Canada 2016 Census mailer sits on the key board of a laptop after arriving in the mail at a residence in Ottawa, May 2, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Statistics Canada sees more demand to fill out census online during pandemic

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the response to the census is higher… Continue reading

Travellers, who are not affected by new quarantine rules, arrive at Terminal 3 at Pearson Airport in Toronto, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. Ottawa will create a new digital platform to help in processing immigration applications more quickly and efficiently after COVID-19 pandemic underscored the need for a faster shift to a digital immigration system, the immigration department said. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ottawa to create new system to tackle delays in processing immigration applications

Ottawa says it will create a new digital platform to help process… Continue reading

A man on a skateboard and a young woman pass large letters spelling out UBC at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver on November 22, 2015. The federal government is writing off more than $200 million in outstanding student loan payments that officials will never be able to collect. Recently released spending documents show the government won't collect $203.5 million in debts from 34,240 students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan

VANCOUVER — A B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing is set to start… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday’s $25 million Lotto max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $25 million jackpot… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 19, 2021, file photo, Keidy Ventura, 17, receives her first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in West New York, N.J. States across the country are dramatically scaling back their COVID-19 vaccine orders as interest in the shots wanes, putting the goal of herd immunity further out of reach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
States scale back vaccine orders as interest in shots wanes

MADISON, Wis. — States asked the federal government this week to withhold… Continue reading

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas talks with his players during a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match against Mexico's Cruz Azul at Azteca stadium in Mexico City, Tuesday, May 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Fernando Llano
Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Toronto FC coach Chris Armas returns to Red Bull Arena to face former team

Most Read