Mitch Love behind the bench at Saskatoon (photo supplied by WHL)
Quesnel’s Mitch Love is back from the World Junior Hockey Championships with a gold medal as a carry-on.
Love was an assistant coach on Canada.
He grew up in Quesnel where he played his minor hockey.
Love says he has heard from a lot of local residents since winning…
“I have heard from a lot of people from Quesnel, whether it’s family or friends, via e-mail, text messages. I think I saw a statistic the other day where 4.2 million Canadians watched that final game, so I know there were probably a few people from Quesnel tuned into that one so it’s really nice to hear from a lot of people during that time.”
Love says there was a lot of pressure as Canada is expected to win every year, but he says everyone, the coaches, the players, and management embraced it and used it as motivation.
We asked him what it was like on the bench in the final game trailing Russia in the third period…
“Naturally when you’re down 3-1 in a hockey game with 11 minutes to go, there is a lot of checking that scoreboard in terms of seeing how much time is left. I thought the turning point was our response, 34 seconds after they made it 3-1, to make it 3-2. I think it gave our bench enough life where we were hanging around, it gave the building enough life, there was about three or four thousand Canadians there, it really felt like a home game essentially. We got a late power play, got the tying goal, and then Akil Thomas came off the bench and scored a huge goal for us.”
Asked whether he would coach again next year, Love didn’t even hesitate…
“Absolutely, it’s a tremendous honor any time you get to represent your country, whether you’re a coach or a player or a staff member. I think the taste of winning it just recently and heading into the event in Edmonton and Red Deer next year, you know it’s intriguing, but I have to go through the application process and try to wow them enough to bring me back for another year
Love, who is back coaching the Saskatoon Blades, says it has definitely been an adjustment coming back to the Western Hockey League.