Two Vancouver Giants are returning from the 2021 IIHF world juniors in Edmonton with silver medals.
Defenceman Bowen Byram and head coach Michael Dyck went all the way to the gold medal final on Tuesday night, Jan. 5, when Canada dropped a hard-fought matchup to Team USA. The final score was 2-0.
During the tournament, Byram managed one goal and four assists along with a tournament best plus-13 rating.
He was named a tournament all-star, and one of Canada’s top three players for the tournament, along with forward Dylan Cozens and goaltender Devon Levi.
He also received two player of the game awards for Canada.
Byram is the first ever member of the Langley-based Vancouver Giants WHL franchise to capture multiple medals at the world juniors.
Michael Dyck was named an assistant coach for Canada’s World Junior team back in June, part of a coaching staff that also included André Tourigny, Mitch Love and Tyler Dietrich.
Giants issued a statement saying the team “would like to wish a heartfelt congratulations to both Bowen Byram and Michael Dyck for their first class representation of the Vancouver Giants, the Western Hockey League and the country of Canada.”
Both Byram and Lethbridge Hurricanes forward Dylan Cozens were named co-captains of Canada’s U-20 squad in December after former Saskatoon Blades forward Kirby Dach, Canada’s original captain, left the tournament due to injury.
The tournament was played with no fans in the stands to prevent the spread of COVID-19, operating under the same bubble concept that was successfully deployed by the NHL and the NBA.
Any player, coach or team staff member who tested positive for the virus after Nov. 29 was ineligible to enter Edmonton’s “bubble,” which meant a number of European players could not compete as a result.
It also meant Team Canada members couldn’t return home for Christmas.
Players battled to a continuous hum of canned crowd noise, including ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ on hard shots and great saves.
Tuesday’s win was the first gold medal for the Americans since they won it all in 2017.
Finland defeated Russia 4-1 earlier Tuesday to win bronze.