International Ice Hockey Federation

Ten years after

Ten years after

Two-time WJC gold medalist Cogliano reminisces

Published 25.04.2017 09:17 GMT-4 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Ten years after
Toronto native Andrew Cogliano of the Anaheim Ducks won back-to-back gold medals with Canada in 2006 and 2007. Here he celebrates his opening goal in 2007’s gold medal game against Russia. Photo: Jukka Rautio / HHOF-IIHF Images
Andrew Cogliano is the NHL’s active ironman with 739 straight games played. And yet, his two World Junior gold medals are the biggest thing he’s won.

It’s a worthwhile reminder for elite hockey players to take advantage of every chance they get to compete internationally.

When caught up with the 29-year-old Anaheim Ducks winger after a win he was in a reflective mood. After all, Cogliano captured his first World Junior title with Canada in 2006 at Rogers Arena (then GM Place), and Vancouver was announced earlier that day as the co-host city, along with Victoria, for the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship.

“I think it’s an awesome tournament,” Cogliano said. “It’s something I’ve always remembered. To be able to win two, especially the one in Vancouver, they’re special tournaments to be a part of. It’s crazy to think it was that long ago. I wish the guys luck because you get pretty emotional when you think about those tournaments, how the country rallies around you, how big the games are.”

The 5-0 gold medal win over the Yevgeni Malkin-led Russians in 2006 was particularly memorable. The U20 Canadians, coached by hard-nosed Brent Sutter, weren’t odds-on favorites to win, as they had less talent than the powerhouse 2005 team with Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, and Shea Weber. And the Russians had steamrolled their opponents in group play and trounced an American team with Phil Kessel and Bobby Ryan 5-1 in the semi-finals. But Canada came through.

What does Cogliano remember most about the final in front of a capacity crowd of 18,630?

“Just the atmosphere. The start of the game, and the rise out of the crowd after every play, hit and goal. It just all around was something I’ve never forgotten, because of the energy in the building and how much fun it was. You can’t replace playing in Canada for the World Juniors.”

Cogliano, drafted 25th overall in 2005 by the Edmonton Oilers, grew up idolizing Joe Sakic and Paul Kariya. He has morphed into a reliable defensive forward at the NHL level, exploiting his blazing speed. He still appreciates the methodical approach Sutter took with the 2006 team, which only allowed seven goals en route to gold – one less than the more-touted 2005 squad.

“He was good,” Cogliano said. “He was direct and hard, and he prepared us. I think that’s what you need in a coach for a short tournament like that. Someone who has good preparation and is going to demand the most out of you and make you play in any role necessary. I thought he did that, and I think that’s why we won.”

At the 2007 World Juniors in Leksand and Mora, Sweden under coach Craig Hartsburg, Cogliano scored the same number of goals as in 2006: one. But when the University of Michigan star put the puck in the net, it was meaningful.

First, take Canada’s famous 2-1 semi-final shootout win over the Americans. World Junior buffs can easily recall how Jonathan Toews beat U.S. goalie Jeff Frazee three times. Yet what’s often overlooked is that Cogliano’s low, glove-side tally in the sixth round opened the door for Toews’ winner. (U.S. defenceman Jack Johnson put one past tournament MVP Carey Price right after Cogliano scored.)

“I snuck in there and put one in,” Cogliano said. “That’s something I’ll never forget either. Pricer played out of his mind, really, and stopped consecutive shots. And Toews – when you’re in a shootout like that, you never forget it. That put us in the final to ultimately win it.”

For the second straight year, Canada defeated the Russians for gold, this time 4-2. And Cogliano opened the scoring at 15:32, converting the rebound from a Ryan O’Marra shot.

Ten years later, he still looks forward to the dressing room chatter as the World Juniors draw near. On an Anaheim team that features American, Canadian, Finnish, and Swedish talent, there are plenty of bragging rights up for grabs. In the last six years, there have been five different victorious World Junior nations.

“I think the one thing is that now all the teams are pretty close, and all the countries have caught up to Canada, it seems,” Cogliano said.

Since Edmonton traded him to Anaheim in 2011 for a second-round pick, Cogliano’s NHL highlight has been marching to the 2015 Western Conference finals, where the eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks eliminated the Ducks in seven games.

As he approaches his 30th birthday, Cogliano is cognizant of the need to revitalize himself away from the rink. The Newport Beach resident enjoys heading down to the beach with his dog Charlie and hopping on a surfboard. What’s the special appeal of that sport?

“I think it’s something where you get in the water and have fun with your friends. In California, you have a chance to do things that you can’t in a lot of other parts of the world. No better place in the world than California to go surfing.”

Cogliano is also a classic rock fan who enjoys tunes by Pearl Jam, CCR and Fleetwood Mac. One of his other favorites is legendary wordsmith Bob Dylan, who just got the Nobel Prize for Literature.

“I think it’s well-deserved. He’s obviously made great music and been a role model. He’s a person where it seems like both young people and older generations can appreciate his music. He’s someone I listen to, and obviously, congratulations to him on that award.”

Naturally, Cogliano also hopes to congratulate the 2017 edition of Team Canada on regaining World Junior supremacy on 5 January. The hosts open the tournament on Boxing Day with a 2015 gold-medal rematch versus Russia at the Air Canada Centre in Cogliano’s native Toronto. His advice for the kids wearing the red Maple Leaf reflects the savvy of a man who hasn’t missed an NHL game since his 4 October 2007 debut with the Oilers and just passed Jay Bouwmeester for fifth on the all-time list.

“Control your emotion and just stick to the game plan. Usually the coaches put a good game plan in place, and if you follow it, you give yourself a chance to win. These are some of the best times of your life and your career, and I always remember that. Enjoy it, but also be smart and play the right way.”


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