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Ollie Josephson reflects on golden run at U18 World Championship

Josephson claimed his second gold medal with Team Canada
VANTAA, FINLAND - APRIL 30: Ollie Josephson #16 of Canada controls the puck against Svyatoslav Yevplov #6 of Kazakhstan in Preliminary Round - Group B action at the 2024 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship at Vantaa Trio Arena on April 30, 2024 in Vantaa, Finland.

The 2024 IIHF U18 World Championship wasn't Red Deer Rebels forward Ollie Josephson's first rodeo.

Just a year ago the 17-year-old from Victoria, B.C. represented his country at the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Czechia.

With experience under his belt, Josephson donned the maple leaf once again winning his second gold medal in as many years with Team Canada at the U18 World Championship defeating the United States 6-4 on May 5 in Espoo, Finland.

"It was an honour to be a part of Team Canada. To win the gold is something you dream of and beating the U.S. in the final was a storybook ending. It was pretty fun," he said.

"It's surreal. It doesn't really quite feel like you're doing it because it's such a prestigious tournament. It was a lot fun and one of the best moments of my life."

Before winning gold, Team Canada wrapped up the round-robin portion of the tournament a perfect 4-0 after beating Sweden, Czechia, Switzerland, and Kazakhstan.

Canada then shut out Latvia 4-0 in the quarterfinals before edging Sweden 5-4 in the semifinals. Canada defeated their neighbours south of the border in a sold-out gold medal game in a tight 6-4 tilt.

Josephson finished the tournament with three points in seven games.

"The competition was really good. When it's international it's every country's best players which was awesome. I really enjoyed it," Josephson said. "I felt good. I thought I played my role well and we got the win so that's all that really matters."

Josephson's focus now shifts to the 2024 NHL Entry Draft from June 28-29 in Las Vegas where he's expected to be selected.

He's now preparing for the NHL Combine which takes place in Buffalo, NY in the first week of June. There he'll get the opportunity to showcase his talents for NHL scouts, executives, and coaches ahead of the draft.

"I'm excited. There's lots of players I know from Team Canada and so it should be a fun week," Josephson said adding he'd be grateful to be drafted by any team.

Josephson certainly increased his chances of getting drafted after a career-best season with the Rebels. By scoring 47 points in 68 games this season in Red Deer, which was second most on the team, he moved up the ranks in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings. He is ranked 40th among North American skaters after he was ranked 43rd in the midterm rankings.

"The Rebels are an unreal organization. They've done so much for me on and off the ice. They make you a better player because they push you and get the most out of you every day but they also make you a better person. I couldn't be happier with where I am in Red Deer."

Ian Gustafson

About the Author: Ian Gustafson

Ian began his journalism career as a reporter in Prince Albert, Sask. for the last three years, and was born and raised in Saskatchewan.
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