A Golden Moment
Winning gold on the international stage is an ultimate goal for all that are part of the hockey world. For Oil Kings Head Athletic Therapist Brian Cheeseman, that dream became a reality on Friday night at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, NY as Team Canada defeated Team Sweden 3-1 to capture the gold medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
“Standing on the blueline arm-and-arm with teammates and staff singing O Canada will be a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life,” said Cheeseman. “Every kid involved in hockey in Canada dreams of being a part of the World Junior team. That’s no different for athletic therapists and equipment managers from coast to coast.”
Team Canada forward Tyler Steenbergen (Swift Current Broncos) would score the tournament winning goal for Canada with 1:40 to play in the third period of Friday night’s game to lift Canada to their 17th World Junior Hockey Championship title.
“I’m not sure I’ve ever been on a bench in a stadium that loud to this point in my career,” said Cheeseman. “People were dancing and singing the goal song at the top of their lungs. My fellow support staff members (Athletic Trainer Kevin Elliott, Equipment Manager Chris MacDonald, Equipment Manager Brian St.Louis and Sport Performance Director Adam Douglas) and I were in a state of pure joy in anticipation of hearing that final buzzer sound.”
This tournament marked the third year that Cheeseman has had the opportunity to represent Canada at the World Juniors.
“I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to be part of the tournament once, let alone three times,” said Cheeseman. “It’s always an incredible honour to be a part of Team Canada and represent not only your nation, but also your family, hometown, province and club team on a world stage.”
The Mount Pearl, Newfoundland native, in his eighth season as Head Athletic Therapist for the Edmonton Oil Kings, sees tremendous opportunity to bring back new learnings to the Oil Kings from this experience.
“These events allow me the opportunity to work with other athletic therapists and equipment managers from across the Canadian Hockey League (CHL),” said Cheeseman. “It’s a learning opportunity for all involved. We are constantly learning from each other, sharing new tips and tricks from a medical and equipment standpoint throughout the course of our time together.”
While representing your country is an incredible opportunity in itself, walking away with a gold medal is an unforgettable experience for all involved.
“For the therapy and equipment guys this was our first gold medal after multiple trips to the tournament,” said Cheeseman. “There may have been a couple of tears of joy shed.”