Edmonton, Alta. – Two members of the Saskatoon Blades coaching staff are heading home with hardware from the 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships.
Blades head coach Mitch Love and assistant coach Tyler Dietrich have been awarded silver medals after the United States defeated Canada by a 2-0 score on Tuesday night at Rogers Arena in Edmonton, Alta.
This follows up their gold medals from last year, which was won in heroic fashion against Russia.
Both Blades staff members were assistants on Canada’s coaching staff, with Dietrich’s role geared towards video coaching — the same roles each played on last year’s gold medal-winning team.
Prior to Tuesday’s gold-medal contest, Finland defeated Russia by a 4-1 final Tuesday afternoon.
Blades 2020 CHL Import Draft selection Brad Lambert (Lahti, Finland) is the rightful owner of a bronze medal, along with WHL players Kasper Puutio (Vaasa, Finland / Everett Silvertips) and forward Henri Nikkanen (Mikkeli, Finland / Winnipeg ICE).
In seven games, Lambert scored one goal and added three helpers for four points in his first U20 World Juniors. The former member of the Saskatoon Generals U15 program is highly touted as a top prospect for the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.
A total of 12 WHL players earned medals at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, which began Christmas Day and wrapped up on January 5th.
Goaltender Dustin Wolf (Gilroy, Calif. / Everett Silvertips) returns home with gold, after the United States defeated Canada by a 2-0 margin in the tournament finale.
Meanwhile, nine WHL players leave the Edmonton bubble with silver medals having represented Canada, including goaltenders Dylan Garand (Victoria, B.C. / Kamloops Blazers) and Taylor Gauthier (Calgary, Alta. / Prince George Cougars), defencemen Bowen Byram (Cranbrook, B.C. / Vancouver Giants), Kaiden Guhle (Sherwood Park, Alta. / Prince Albert Raiders), Kaedan Korczak (Yorkton, Sask. / Kelowna Rockets) and Braden Schneider (Prince Albert, Sask. / Brandon Wheat Kings), and forwards Dylan Cozens (Whitehorse, Yukon / Lethbridge Hurricanes), Peyton Krebs (Okotoks, Alta. / Winnipeg ICE) and Connor Zary (Saskatoon, Sask. / Kamloops Blazers).
Joining the nine WHL players with Canada are seven WHL staff, including Alan Millar (U20 lead, Program of Excellence Management Group / Moose Jaw Warriors), assistant coaches Tyler Dietrich (Saskatoon Blades), Michael Dyck (Vancouver Giants), and Mitch Love (Saskatoon Blades), goaltending coach Jason LaBarbera (Calgary Hitmen), therapist Brian Cheeseman (Edmonton Oil Kings) and team physician Dr. Barry Wiens (Red Deer Rebels).
WHL players contributed to Canada’s tournament, including Cozens and Byram, who were both voted to the tournament all-star team. Cozens, a prospect of the Buffalo Sabres, finished second in tournament scoring with 16 points (8G-8A). Byram, a prospect of the Colorado Avalanche, finished second in the tournament in plus-minus with a rating of plus-13. He also led all Canadian blueliners in scoring with five points (1G-4A).
For more information from the International Ice Hockey Federation, please visit the official tournament website at 2021.worldjuniors.hockey.
For more information on Hockey Canada and Canada’s National Junior Team, please visit HockeyCanada.ca or follow along through social media on Facebook, Twitter and Twitter.com/HC_WJC.