Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro came up short in their quest to win gold for Canada in the World U17 Hockey Challenge.
However, their experience was far from disappointing.
“Wearing the Canadian jersey for the first time was definitely an honour,” said Jost, who helped Canada White finish fifth after he set up the overtime winner to defeat Fabbro’s Canada Red team 3-2 in the placement game. “Such a dream come true. I’ve been dreaming about that my whole life. It was great to wear that crest. I would do anything to wear it again.”
Jost, 16, was impressed by how good the Russians and Americans were. Russia defeated the U.S. to win gold.
“They can all skate and shoot the puck,” said Jost. “It was fun to watch and fun to be a part of. Playing against the best people in the country and around the world, it was awesome.”
Among the players who stood out to Jost was Clayton Keller, who led the tournament with six goals and 13 points in six games, and Keller’s teammate Max Jones who had seven goals and 11 points. Jost said they are “pretty good players with skill.”
On his own team, Jost was impressed by David Quenneville of the Medicine Hat Tigers and Brett Howden of the Moose Jaw Warriors in the Western Hockey League. Jost said it was great to play with both, who possess a lot of skill.
While away, Jost learned different ways to warm up to prepare for games as well as cool down. He also learned the importance of competing all the time. There were times when players on his team did not do that.
Since the tournament has ended, Jost has enjoyed bugging Fabbro about beating him.
“I definitely give him the gears sometimes at home about us,” smiled Jost. “We were chatting a lot on the ice. It was kind of funny when I saw him. It’s a little different because we’re usually on the power play and stuff together. It was a little different seeing him on the opposite team.”
While Fabbro admits to having fun playing against Jost, he said, “It’s tough losing to one of your buddies.”
“They are a good team. All the Canadian teams were good,” said Fabbro, who finished with two goals and three points in five games. “I hate losing. Just to have Tyson beat me just kind of makes it that much worse. We’re good buddies, but he’ll never let that one slip.”
Fabbro described that final game as competitive and tough since it was at the end of the tournament. After struggling through his first game, Fabbro began to see where he fit in and felt good on the ice.
“There are quite skilled guys out there, which is not always easy to defend,” said Fabbro. “I think I held my ground pretty good.”
The main goal for Canada Red was to win gold, but Fabbro said things can’t be expected in short term events.
“The teams obviously that gelled quickest at first are going to win,” he said. “I think at the end we started to climb and get better as a team.”
During the tournament Fabbro learned about leadership and trying to make teammates accountable for their actions while also being respectful and letting them play their own game. He also learned that it’s important to make second efforts for the puck and to always work hard.
“It was pretty cool,” said Fabbro on facing the best players.
Vees coach-general manager Fred Harbinson watched what he could of the tournament and based on what he saw, felt his players performed very well.
“I thought Dante did extremely well,” said Harbinson, adding that Fabbro was named an assistant captain on his team. “Looked to me as one of the top defenceman on his team. I thought Tyson in the role that they put him in, he did extremely well. I thought he made some strong plays. I think they both learned different things from their experience. They will come back here better players.”
Now Jost and Fabbro are excited to be back with the Vees and to get ready for this weekend against the Vernon Vipers and a rematch with the Cowichan Valley Capitals at the South Okanagan Events Centre Saturday.
“It was good to see all the guys again,” said Fabbro. “It brought a smile to my face.”