A broken tibia didn’t just derail Steven Stamkos’ 2013-14 season, it robbed him of the opportunity to represent his home country at the Olympics.
While there’s no telling the impact Stamkos may have been able to make during the Sochi games, his scoring ability surely would have been a welcome addition to Team Canada. Though he fought valiantly to rehab his injured right leg in time for the tournament, he was unable to reach full speed in time, and Team Canada named Martin St-Louis as his replacement.
After a practice at the Team Canada facility just outside Calgary late last week, Stamkos’ effort was rewarded, as he was awarded with the same ring each member of Sochi’s gold medal winning team had previously received.
Stamkos told the Tampa Bay Times that he was taken aback by the gesture.
“They said I was named to the team and worked hard, tried to get there,” Stamkos added. “I didn’t get to play, but it’s still something I’ll keep pretty near and dear to my heart.”
It will long be up for debate what the outcome would have been had Stamkos been able to suit up for Canada. To this day, there are still fans who say the 1972 Canada-Russia Summit Series could have been decided much earlier had Bobby Orr been healthy enough to play.
We’ll never know if Stamkos’ abilities would have made the gold medal a no-doubter, or if the addition of St-Louis helped push Canada over the top. The one thing not up for debate is the fantastic act by Hockey Canada, giving the ring to one of the players who certainly should have been there.