Hurricanes captain, Brent Seabrook, earned the privilege of representing Canada, over Christmas, at the 2004 World Junior Hockey Championships.
“Wearing that maple leaf over your chest is something special. There is no better feeling in the world than to represent your country in a tournament like the World Juniors. It was just a blast and I learned a lot,” said Seabrook, an 18-year-old from Delta, B.C.
“I learned how to play on the bigger ice and how to use those skills in our game back here.”
Seabrook was a solid contributor on team Canada’s blue line totaling 3 points (1 goal and 2 assists) and finishing the tournament with a +3 rating. His lone goal was a powerplay marker and Canada’s third goal in a 10-0 route over the Ukraine.
“I thought I played well. I think all the guys played strong on defense for us. Phaneuf, Coburn, Belle, Gorges, Meech, and Klein all played good and I think any one of us could have won best defenseman in the tournament,” explained Seabrook, who wore #32 throughout the tournament.
Seabrook was not a stranger to playing overseas in international tournaments but he was a stranger when it came to accepting Silver for his efforts. Team Canada held a 3-1 lead going into the third period of the Gold Medal Game but suffered a heart-breaking 4-3 loss at the hands of the United States.
“The only regret would be not winning that final game but that’s the way the game went and we got Silver,” stated Seabrook, who roomed with fellow defenseman, Kevin Klein of the Guelph Storm, while in Finland.
“There is a lot to look back on but it feels a lot better now than it did the day of.”
Seabrook, along with 12 of his teammates, dawned the maple leaf and brought home Gold at the 2002 and 2003 World Under-18 Championships.
“Playing with most these guys in the two previous U18 tournaments was great. I knew most the older guys from the WHL and from the prospects game last year,” confirmed Seabrook, who was selected 14th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
“I think we were confident going into the tournament. As guys we all knew what we could do and we got along right from day one which helped bring the team together.”
Looking back at this year’s tournament, Seabrook still feels the positives outweighed the fact that the Gold may have slipped away.
“We played great and had a lot of fun; it was unbelievable. The people were great, we had a lot of Canadian fans over there, and it was a really nice city,” said Seabrook.
For most, playing in the World Juniors is a once in a lifetime opportunity but Brent and a majority of his teammates will have the chance to go for gold again at next year’s tournament in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
“Thirteen of us are eligible to play again and we are all the same age except for Crosby. The ’85 age group is really talented and full of depth and if the NHL strike does happen then we will have Horton (Florida) and Bergeron (Boston) along with some other guys so that will be huge for us too,” said Seabrook.
“I am really confident about the team that will go to the WJC next year and we should definitely have an opportunity to win gold.”
Seabrook returned to the ‘Canes in mid-January as the new guy, considering the club brought in 7 new players and a fresh face behind the bench during his absence.
“The changes were a surprise to me. I walked into the dressing room and I should have worn a name tag,” joked Seabrook, who’s known to teammates as ‘Seabs’.
“It was sad to see the guys leave but the way we were going it seems like it was for the best.”
The ‘Canes, with their captain back in the fold, are now focused on making a playoff push.
“Lyndsay and Luc are great coaches. We have a lot of leaders left on this team and everyone will do their part. We are going to pull through,” reassured Seabrook.
Seabrook is a real good kid, and a great hockey player. Some eyebrows were raised when he was selected so highly by the Hawks, but actually, I felt that's where he should have gone (thereabouts). He's a great leader, as well as a very good defenseman. Most people who saw him at the WJC's should know - he can play even better than that! In fact, the WJC performance for Seabrook was actually pretty average compared to what I've seen of him & what I hear.
Nicely-written article, salostyle. I grew up in Lethbridge, by the way, and used to go to lots of the old Lethbridge Bronco games as a kid, watching guys like Trottier and most of the Sutters come through.
Two minor things from your article - I would change "route" to "rout" when talking about the 10-0 game against Ukraine, and later change "dawned" to "donned" in reference to Seabrook wearing the maple leaf in the under-18 championships.
And of course, those are really minor points. The flavor of the article was very good, lots of good quotes in there. Good job!