Fraser Minten reveals emotional statement after Team Canada is eliminated from WJC tournament
Photo credit: NHL

Heartbroken Leafs prospect issues a statement after worst loss of his career

Published January 3, 2024 at 11:02

Team Canada were not the favourites entering this year's rendition of the World Junior Championships, but they were expected to at least bring back a medal. Sweden and the United States were far and away the much better clubs with star talent and depth all throughout the lineup; Canada, not so much, considering that Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli and others were not released by their NHL clubs to participate in the tournament.

After an unconvincing group stage, the Canadians were awarded a date with Czechia in the quarter-finals. Canada fell to an early 2-0 lead after the first period before tying things up in the following 20 minutes. With 11 seconds remaining in regulation, however, Jakub Stancl scored the game-winning goal to send the Czechs through to the semi-finals. You could just see the heartbreak on the faces of the Canadian youngsters even before the final horn had sounded.

Team Canada's captain and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Fraser Minten spoke to the media after the game and was utterly disappointed with the results of the quarter-finals and the tournament as a whole:

"It feels like the world's ending a bit. Like, it's such an unbelievable opportunity for all of us in our careers & you never really know if you're going to get another look with representing your country or playing on such a global stage.

The expectations are really high, but they're not higher from the outside than they are from us individually. We want to win more than anyone else wants us to win. It's heartbreaking."

Canada enters every tournament with high hopes but the 2023-24 rendition couldn't hold a candle to last year's teams that had the afordmentioned Bedard and Fantilli, along with Logan Stankoven and Dylan Guenther, just to name a few.

Outside of Macklin Celebrini, this year's team was missing serious firepower. Within the top-30 players in scoring tournament-wide, Canada only had 2 players listed; Celebrini with 8 points and Brayden Yager with 5.

Minten ended the tournament with 1 goal, 2 assists, and fired 13 shots on goal. He played the most minutes as a forward at 17:46 ATOI and played a relatively strong 2-way game. Unfortunately the high expectations crumbled the Canadian side this year as they failed to reach the medal rounds for the first time since 2019.

Czechia has never beaten Canada to advance to the medal rounds in the history of the tournament - until now.

January 3   |   788 answers
Heartbroken Leafs prospect issues a statement after worst loss of his career

Should the Leafs use Fraser Minten as trade bait for a top-4 defenseman, or hold onto him?

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