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Harrison brings home U18 hockey gold

 Golden memory for Brett Harrison   

 at world U18 men's hockey


   Dorchester-London native adds to already stellar career


Thursday, May 13, 2021


By Rob J. Ross 

LONDON, Ont. - It is the pinnacle thus far for the young career of Brett Harrison.   

Singing O Canada alongside teammates with gold medals in hand, moments after helping Team Canada win the IIHF U18 men's world hockey championship.

"It's a great feeling for sure. A feeling I'll never forget. It was awesome," said Harrison, on the 5-3 win over Russia, in the gold medal final, on May 6, in Frisco, Texas. "It is a great feeling knowing you're a world champion and I'll remember that moment forever. It's really special to me."



Canada broke a 2-2 tie in the second period with a pair of goals. After Russia pulled to within a goal, Canada locked up victory with an empty net goal. Over the final 10 minutes the team was consumed with emotions.

"There was a lot of excitement and definitely a lot of nerves as well," said Harrison. "There was a lot of chatter on the bench and a lot of encouragement from the players and from our coaching staff. It was really positive."

Winning gold is the ultimate memory, but Harrison did score twice in the tournament, including against Sweden in the quarterfinals.

"It was a great feeling getting on the scoresheet and help the team win."

Under quarantine since returning to Ontario last weekend, it's something Harrison has got accustomed to over the past year.

"I usually break up my day, by doing different things, like workouts, stretching, homework or face-timing family and friends," explained Harrison. "Even during the quarantine with Hockey Canada, we would have zoom call workouts, for strengthening and a lot of conditioning. When we did get out on the ice we wouldn't be falling over."

Team Canada had a four day quarantine before five days of practice and an exhibition game.

"It was definitely different with all the COVID protocals and us wearing a mask everywhere and keeping our distance. It was a very controlled environment. We couldn't interact with any of the public. It was really different, but we made the best of it. Everything was good. We had a nice hotel. Food was good."

Winning gold and having to spend so much time together gave Harrison and his teammates memories that will remain long after their hockey careers are over.

"Being around the guys in the dressing room. I loved being around the guys, doing the warm-ups, talking. We created life long friendships. Something I'll never forget," said Harrison. "I learned in a short term event that you have to trust your teammates and create a good bond with your teammates. We had a tight group and we all got along really well. I think that was a big part why we won. Always prepare, keep focused and always keep a positive mind set."

Up coming for Harrison in July, is the excitement and nervousness of the 2021 NHL Draft. Many ranking have the six-foot two left shooting centreman being selected in the the second round of the NHL draft.

There is also hope for a call to tryouts for Canada's junior team.

"That's one of my goals, to get a camp invite for world juniors. That would be awesome," said Harrison. "I've watched world juniors every single Christmas."

In the mean time, Harrison will prepare for a return to Oshawa and perhaps reflect on his career to this point.

Harrison spent his youth growing up in Dorchester, attending elementary school at St. David's and starting his minor hockey with the Dorchester Dragons. Harrison moved to the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs for atom minor and then on to the London Jr. Knights.

After graduating grade eight, Harrison went to Blyth Academy, a private high school in London, for Grades nine and 10. Around the same time, his family moved to London. In his final year with the Jr. Knights, Harrison led the U16 Alliance League with 42 goals and 63 points. That same season, Harrison played four playoff games with the London Nationals of the GOJHL, scoring once.

At the 2019 OHL Priority Draft, the Oshawa Generals selected the forward 16th overall. Harrison had 21 goals and 16 assists in 58 games during his rookie campaign, before the COVID pandemic cancelled the remainder of the season. The 21 goals was the most by a Generals' rookie since John Tavares in 2006.

Harrison played with Canada White at the 2020 World U17 Hockey Challenge, potting two goals in six games.

Unfortunately the pandemic wiped out the entire 2020-21 OHL season, that would have been Harrison's year two. However, before joining Team Canada, Harrison traveled to Finland for some game action earlier this year.

"I played some games in the U20 league and I also played a game in the men's league," said Harrison, who had four goals and five assists, with Koovee U20, based in Tampere. "It was a really good experience."

Harrison gained some life experiences as well during his time in Finland.

"I went with Nicholas Canade (OHL's Mississauga Steelheads). We went there on our own. We stayed in an apartment, so we had to learn how to cook our own meals and clean the apartment. That was the first time I had to do that on my own," said Harrison with a laugh.

Mom and dad, Patricia and Tim, proud of the gold medal, likely approve of their teenage son's new household skills that even a world champion can use.