Londoner Ryan Suzuki and Canada play Russia tonight for berth in gold medal game
LONDON, ONT. -- Amanda and Rob Suzuki have been enjoying the ride, as Team Canada remains undefeated at the World Junior Tournament in Edmonton, Alta.
"It's been great to have our second son Ryan play for Canada,” says Amanda from her home in west London, Ont. "What a proud moment as a parent."
The two will be glued to the TV Monday night with Canada taking on Russia in the tournament semifinal. The game begins at 6 p.m. with pregame on 1290 CJBK in London, Ont. starting at 5 p.m.
"The guys are just kicking butt out there," Amanda says. "Their chemistry is amazing. As long as they play the same game they've been playing, they should be fine. I think their best game was against Finland and Russia is going to be tough game tonight, but they have all the tools to win it."
Ryan is following in the footsteps of his older brother Nick, who played for Canada two years ago. However despite Nick being in the NHL, his younger sibling got some motivation from father Rob before the tournament.
"He actually said Nick didn't get a gold medal, so you can one up him on that," Ryan said of the message from his dad. "That's what I am going to try to do here."
London Knights forward Connor McMichael is trying to go back-to-back after winning gold last year.
"We played them (Russia) in the gold medal game, and they are going to be out for revenge and we are going to be up for the task," says McMichael, who has seven points in five games during the tournament.
"It’s such a long rivalry between the teams, and we're excited for it."
Also excited are the thousands of fans across the country cheering them on. That includes the Pavey family from Bright's Grove, Ont, where seven-year-old Connor is a hockey super fan.
"We made a couple posters," says Connor. "Two of the posters have players' names and jerseys on them."
His favourite player is Dylan Cozens, who leads the tournament in goals with seven.
Connor's dad Brett says they have been recording every game of the tournament including the late night one's so his boys can watch them the next day.
"With the recent environment it's our way we can escape and watch hockey,” says Brett. "We have a rink in the backyard and it's not frozen yet, and hockey has been cancelled for now. This is the only hockey right now and it came at a good time."
This tournament was a blessing for the Suzukis as well, with no OHL season, Ryan has not been able to play any games.
Amanda and Rob would have loved to be seeing these games in person in Edmonton, but that isn't possible during the pandemic.
"We FaceTime Ryan, and we text everyday, but are trying to let him be," says Amanda
"It was great that Hockey Canada put together a video to give to the boys on Christmas. They have also set up a WhatsApp conversation between all the parents. There has been lots of interactions, but not a lot with Ryan. We are just sending our love to him and telling him how proud we are."
Also part of Team Canada is Londoner Bob Martin who is acting once again as security liaison. He's won gold medals two of the last three years with the program.
The winner of Canada-Russia will play the winner of USA-Finland for gold Tuesday night.