Published on August 12, 2013
Canada’s Sam Bennett (11) leads his teammates, including Clark Bishop (centre) of St. John’s, on a rush up the ice during action at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial under-18 hockey championship last week. The Canadians shut out the United States 4-0 Saturday to take the Hlinka title for a sixth straight year. — Hlinka tournament photo
Published on August 11, 2013
For St. John’s native Clark Bishop, the thrill of winning a gold medal for Canada was one he’ll never forget.
“It was a terrific experience just going over there, but coming back with the gold medal was great,” Bishop said in a telephone interview from the Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Sunday night.
On Saturday, Canada blanked the United States 4-0 in the final of the Ivan Hlinka Memorial men’s under-18 hockey tournament in Piestany, Czech Republic.
It was Canada’s sixth straight gold medal at the summer event, which is co-hosted by the Czechs and Slovakia.
It was Bishop’s first international championship victory, but for one of his teammates, it was the first ever championship at any level.
Bishop said he overhead the teammate in the dressing room after the final game say it was the first time he’d ever got to throw off his gloves and helmet.
“That’s how excited he was and how much it meant to him,” said Bishop. “It meant a lot to all us. We were all like family by the end of the tournament and were happy to celebrate a championship.
“Over the past three weeks, our team grew together like a family.”
Bishop wasn’t told that he had any specific role by the coaching staff prior to the start of the tournament but, as the event went on, he found himself killing penalties and playing on the team’s shutdown line, a role he said he enjoyed.
“I was just going to play for my country and wear the jersey. I wasn’t worried about anything else. I was willing to do anything to help us win,” said the five-foot-11 centre.
“You try to block shots, win a faceoff or get the puck deep — all those little things,” he said he tried to do for Canada.
Bishop’s only the goal of the tournament was an empty-netter, but it was a key one as it came in the last minute as Canada defeated Russia 3-1 in Friday's semifinal.
“If felt good to seal the win and move us to the final,” he said of his goal.
Bishop was on the ice in the final minutes of a few games in the tournament as the coaching staff showed its confidence in his defensive play.
The Canadian roster also included therapist Brian Cheeseman from Mount Pearl. Cheeseman is the head therapist for Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League,
Bishop will join his Cape Breton Screaming Eagles teammates at training camp today as he begins his second season with the QMJHL club, and he’s brimming with confidence heading into the camp because of his world U-18 experience.
However, he think he might be given the day off under the circumstances.