top of page
  • Writer's pictureDerek Ochej

Canada Cup: Team Canada (Part 2)

Updated: Sep 4, 2020

Continuing from the last post, here are the final five cards from the Team Canada - Canada Cup series.

Card # 11 Paul Coffey

A top defenceman for the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, Coffey was one of many former members of the Edmonton Oilers dynasty on the 1991 Canada Cup team. The tournament was his third Canada Cup appearance (winning gold in all three), and he scored seven points in eight games, finishing sixth in tournament scoring.

Coffey’s final international appearance for Canada would be in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey.

Card # 12 Dale Hawerchuk

1991-92 would be Hawerchuk’s second season with the Buffalo Sabres after a nine-year term with the Winnipeg Jets. He had previously played in the 1987 Canada Cup, and would put up five points in eight games in 1991. This would mark his final international appearance for Team Canada.

I love the two action shots on the front and rear of this card. The front of the card is a not so pretty mid-action shot, while the rear is a great celebration shot of a goal against Team USA.

Card # 13 – Wayne Gretzky

The team captain, Gretzky would be entering his fourth season is Los Angeles, having won the Lady Byng and Art Ross trophies the previous season. In terms of international experience, Gretzky had played on the '81, '84 and '87 Canada Cup teams, recording 45 points over those three tournaments, including a record 21 in 1987 when he won tournament MVP.

In the 1991 tournament, Gretzky would record 12 points in seven games, missing most of the finals after an unpenalized, but clearly illegal, check from behind by the United States’ Gary Suter in Game 1 of the final series. Despite missing two games, Gretzky would still finish as the tournament’s leading scorer and be named to the tournament all-star team.

The 1991 Canada Cup would be Gretzky’s final golden performance as a player for Canada. He would be part of the 1996 World Cup team that would lose to the US in the finals. His final appearance for Canada would be the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, where Canada would lose in the semi-finals to the Czech Republic; many wonder if Gretzky’s absence from the deciding shootout was a factor in the loss. The controversy surrounding Canada's first attempt at pro players in Olympic hockey is well-detailed in the following CBC article by Mike Brophy.

The Great One would win Olympic gold in 2002 as the team's general manager; he would also manage Team Canada to gold at 2004 World Cup and to a quarter-final loss to Russia in the 2006 Olympics.

Both the front and back pictures on this card are memorable. On the front, for the fans in the front row with the stovepipe Team Canada hats. On the back for the pensive, concentrated look on the Great One's face.

Card # 14 – Mark Messier

Gretzky’s former Oilers teammate had missed much of the 1990-91 season due to a knee injury and made a surprise appearance as part of the 1991 Canada Cup entry. Having previously represented in the '84 and '87 Cups, Messier would score eight points in eight games, finishing fifth in tournament scoring.

Less than a month after the tournament, Messier would be traded to the New York Rangers for Bernie Nicholls, Steven Rice and Louie DeBrusk and would go on to win both the Hart and Pearson trophies for the second time his career.

Messier would make one final appearance for Team Canada at the 1996 World Cup. Much like his contemporaries, Messier was robbed of much international glory due to the ban on professionals in the Olympics, and the success of his NHL squads in the post-season preventing him from appearing in world championships. Also from a spot on the 1998 Olympic team courtesy of coach Marc Crawford's decision to take Rob Zamuner over the Moose.

Card # 15 – Steve Larmer

A12-year veteran of the Blackhawks, Larmer had scored a career-high 101 points in the 1990-91 season, but was still seen as a surprise addition to the squad. Many speculate that Canada head coach Mike Keenan, who was also his coach in Chicago, was a contributing factor to his inclusion on the team. His lack of international resume also lends credence to this theory, as Larmer had one appearance in the 1990 world championships prior to the '91 Canada Cup. These would mark his only times representing Canada.

Larmer would make his mark in the 1991 tournament, scoring 11 points in eight games, finishing second to only Gretzky in tournament scoring.

That's it for Team Canada. Our next post will feature Czechoslovakia, a country with a proud hockey history that would soon come to an end.

6 views0 comments


bottom of page