The Penticton Vees’ World Junior A challenge returnees don’t have medal-winning stories to share.
However, they can share the experience of playing in it with their teammates.
“It’s always a great experience to put on the jersey and represent your country,” said Hannoun, who won a bronze medal last year and was joined this year by Tyson Jost, Dante Fabbro and Gabe Bast. “It wasn’t really the outcome (sixth place) we were looking for. It was good to get the second shot at it.”
Hannoun said the teams they faced had more talented players compare to the previous year.
“Yeah, it was a little different, jumping up from the BCHL. It’s a lot faster pace. Less time to make plays,” said Hannoun. “I thought it was pretty good.”
Fabbro loved the experience of facing older guys, including Winnipeg Jets prospect Nikolaj Ehlers. While playing for Canada was an honour for the Whistler native, having his Vees teammates with him made it extra special.
“It made things a lot easier, kind of bond with everybody,” said Fabbro, who also made a few friendships he expects will last.
On the ice, Fabbro was happy with his play.
“Towards the end of the tournament, I progressively stepped up my game,” he said.
For Bast, he discovered there is a fine line between winning and losing.
“Just a few bounces here and there can mean gold medal or a sixth place finish,” he said, as they lost to Canada East 4-2 in the quarter-final.
Bast added that playing against older players helped him gauge how he stacks up against them.
Jost enjoyed facing the skill of the other squads as they opened against Denmark, then saw Russia and finished against Switzerland.
“A lot of countries with quickness and skill. That is somehitng that stood out a lot,” said Jost. “We were a pretty good team too. It wasn’t that big of an adjustment from the junior A standpoint. You got a few players on there who are actually playing in the World Juniors right now. You could see how much they stood out with their speed and skill.”
On Ehlers: “It was a little bit of an eye opening how good he was.He had his other line mate, Oliver Bjorkstrand, was unreal too. It was cool to watch and it was cool to play against them. See where you stand compared to them. It was a good experience to play against those amazing skilled guys.”
Jost also liked experiencing the tournament with his Vees teammates.
“I think we did pretty good as a Penticton Vees stand point,” said Jost, who led Canada West with two goals and three points in four games.
Following Jost on the team’s scoring chart was Fabbro with a goal and three points, Bast with two goals and Hannoun with an assist.