OTTAWA – Former national team hockey players have established an alumni association to link their small community.
Hockey Canada announced the formation of a Team Canada alumni organization at the world junior hockey championship Wednesday.
Players from the 1988 Canadian junior team, which won a gold medal in Moscow, were at Scotiabank Place to re-connect and re-live one of the most memorable moments of their careers.
Forward Theoren Fleury played for Canada in the 1987 and 1988 world junior tournament and later in the Olympics and the Allan Cup. Canada’s victory in 1988 in what was then the former Soviet Union stands out for him.
“This ring is the very first (championship) ring I ever got,” Fleury said of the large ring on his pinkie. “It’s definitely one of my most prized possessions.”
The association will be run by the alumni and players will keep in touch via the Internet.
“From what I understand, they have a Facebook-type website set up for us,” Fleury said. “I think it’s a great initiative.
“It’s fun to be recognized and it’s important to be remembered.”
Fleury, 40, was joined Wednesday by ’88 teammates such as Rob Dimaio, Chris Joseph, Marc Laniel, Greg Hawgood and Rob Brown and head coach Dave Chambers.
“I played for Canada nine times in my career,” Fleury said. “I have a strong connection to Hockey Canada.
“It allowed me to experience a whole lot of things early on in my life that I would never have got the opportunity for if I wasn’t involved in Team Canada.
“When you play for that many teams, there’s a lot of guys you played with and share a lot of memories with.”
Hockey Hall of Famer Denis Potvin, who represented Canada three times in international hockey, says it’s important for national team players to network with their former teammates.
“Being able to share something so private is very important,” Potvin said. “That jersey means a lot and will always be.
“The Team Canada alumni association is going to become a strong family. Team Canada is very much a part of our lives. We’re going to help each other out.”