Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Five Reasons Chorus Loves the World Juniors

For faithful readers who aren't hockey fans, the World Juniors is an annual international hockey tournament, held in December, involving players aged roughly 17-19 at the level just below professional. Many of the junior players have either been recently drafted into National Hockey League teams or expect to be drafted in the next year. The tournament is fantastic, for the following reasons (and more!):

1. The players are highly skilled, but have usually not yet reached their full size which means that the games do not involve as much physical play as they do speed, finesse and stick-handling. Much more fun to watch than many of the heavy-hitting professionals. I always find it hard to believe that kids so young can be so fundamentally talented!

2. Enthusiasm: For many of the players, it's the first opportunity they have to wear their country's jersey on an international stage. And their excitement and eagerness is so exposed and so genuine, that it's impossible not to be affected.

3. Angelo Esposito was invited to the Canadian junior camp three years in a row. And for three years in a row, he didn't make the cut. This year was his fourth invitiation, and there was some speculation that he wouldn't come at all, that he couldn't risk the disappointment one more time. But there he was, with the same excitement, enthusiasm and determination he must have shown at his first camp. And lo and behold, he made the cut. And was a key factor in Canada's drive to the gold, scoring a key goal in the final game.

4. I love that the junior players SING their national anthems, in full off-key, belt-it-out spirit.

5. Because the quality of play is so high, it's easy to forget how young these players are. But there's always a wonderful moment when the camera pans in on a player's face, in his full wide-eyed, acne-covered, baby-faced glory. There's no hint of jadedness or weariness on his face... He's just a happy kid playing a game he loves.


Julie said...

I think I would enjoy the finesse of hockey. I like the way you describe it.

Chunklets said...

An excellent post! One other thing that I like about the WJs is that there always seems to be at least one really weird upset (Hello, Team Slovakia!) - probably also at least somewhat attributable to the players' youth.

Maureen said...
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Maureen said...

Great really captured a sense of spirit here.
My brothers played hockey for years (and yes we live in sunny California) but my favorite memory was when they were peewees (maybe 5 yrs. old?) and the national anthem started up with the boys out on the ice standing in a nice straight line....then one by one they began to wiggle and strain to keep their the end of the song just about the entire team was on their butts. It was hysterical :)