WJC – Xavier Ouellet
Edition: 2013 – Team Canada – Result: 4th position
Location : UFA, Russia
Q : How was it for you to be chosen to represent Canada?
A : Unbelievable, I remember I was 19 years old, I went to the summer camp and did the Super Series against Russia. We had two games in Russia and two games at home, in Halifax, and already that was an incredible experience. To be chosen to be part of this team, during the holiday season, was a big moment for me. I had been a little unlucky with an ankle injury three weeks before the World Junior Championship, but they selected me anyway, and that made me feel really good.
Q: You were on the same Team Canada as Jonathan Drouin. How does it feel to see that you “started” your career together and that today you are part of the same organization?
A: It’s fun. You create relationships like that in the hockey world. I remember that year, it was the year of the lockout, we had an incredible team with all the junior players who didn’t have the chance to be in the NHL. Players like Jonathan Huberdeau, Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and many others. It was pretty amazing and it’s fun to build relationships like that.
Q: Do you think that your participation in the tournament has helped you to start your career in the pros?
A: It certainly does. The experience of playing under pressure, representing your country. I don’t think there’s any greater pride than that.
Q: How it was to spend Christmas with the team?
A: It was fun, very special. We were in Russia, it was far away and there were not many players that their families were there. It was complicated to go to Russia. It was really a good time with the guys, we had a gift exchange. It’s fun because often it’s with players you don’t know that well, you haven’t been together that long, so it helped us get closer, for sure.
Q: Was it a tradition growing up for you to watch this tournament?
A: Yes, especially when my family and I came back to Canada, I was a little bit older, I was ten years old. In the holiday season, that’s what was playing on TV. It’s fun to follow.
Q: What kind of emotions did you feel after the tournament, with this rather disappointing result?
A: At the time it was extremely difficult. Especially with the expectations that were placed on the team, as I said with the lockout we had a really big team. We had a perfect preliminary round, we had won all our games, so we had a direct pass to the semi-finals. That’s when things got tough. The momentum changed quickly, we lost that game and then we had to prepare for the bronze medal game against Russia in Russia. That was special. But today, when I think back, it’s a great memory, an incredible experience and we learned a lot from those moments.