Sarnia Sting head coach leads Canada to record-setting 24th gold medal
For The Journal
Sarnia Sting head coach Alan Letang was golden again this past weekend at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, as Canada downed Czechia 3-2 in overtime.
This marked Letang’s first gold as a head coach for Team Canada, and his fifth overall championship while representing his country. He previously won gold as an assistant coach at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in 2022, as well as a pair of gold medals at the World Junior Championships in 2020 and 2023. Letang’s first win as a member of team Canada, was as a player with the 1998 Spengler Cup championship team.
Malcolm Spence would end the game with seven seconds left in overtime to give Canada its record-setting 24th gold medal win in the men’s Under-18 tournament Saturday in Breclav, Czechia.
The tournament win was not without adversity, as Canada would lose in the opener to Finland in a wild 9-6 final. Tuomas Suoniemi led the way for Finland scoring three times and adding two assists.
After the disappointing loss to Finland, Letang would rally his team to four straight, starting with a huge 14-4 win over Slovakia, a 5-0 shutout victory over Switzerland and finishing the preliminary round with a 7-2 win over the US, and finishing with gold against Czechia.
The U.S. would go on to beat Finland 5-3 to claim the bronze.
Canada’s Berkly Catton would finish the tournament leading in goals (8) and points (11) while teammate Ryder Ritchie held the tournament lead in assists (6).
Canada has won gold now, 24 times at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup tournament, which is considered the first major event leading up to the next NHL draft, since it began in 1991.