A catchy tune by rapper Pitbull may be stuck in the heads of many Canadians after it was played 14 times in the country’s first win at this year’s world junior hockey championship.
But head coach Tim Hunter doesn’t think ”Don’t Stop the Party” will be heard nearly that many times during the rest of the tournament.
In the aftermath of a 14-0 win over heavy underdog Denmark on Boxing Day, Hunter said he doesn’t expect a repeat performance.
“(Wednesday) night’s an anomaly in this tournament, for sure. We’re not going to see that again,” he said before Canada’s game against Switzerland on Thursday night at Rogers Arena.
“I don’t want to make too big of a thing about it, 14 goals, these guys getting points.”
As for “Don’t Stop the Party,” Canada picked the bass-heavy party jam as its goal song in an effort to pump up the home crowd, said captain Maxime Comtois. Last year in Buffalo, the squad went with DJ Otzi’s ”Hey Baby.”
“We made a choice to try and get the fans into that hype and get a little party in the stands. So that’s why we went with that one,” Comtois said.
The left-winger, who tallied four goals in the victory, was asked after the game if he was sick of the song yet.
“Not really,” said Comtois, an Anaheim Ducks prospect.
The win was a good reminder of hockey basics, said Canadian right-winger Owen Tippett, who scored twice.
“Obviously we realized last night what can happen when you shoot the puck on net, whether it’s a good scoring chance or not,” he said.
Tippett and Comtois are two of the 19 players who made it onto the scoresheet Wednesday night. Canada’s roster boasts 22 players.
The world juniors expanded from eight to 10 teams in 1996, giving countries with less prestigious hockey programs a chance to play against some of the biggest young names in the sport.
While Canada captured gold last year, Denmark was winless in the round-robin and had to beat Belarus in the relegation round to stay in the tournament.
The one-sided score on opening night led to some social-media calls to cut the number of teams. While the game wasn’t close, the score never got within striking distance of Canada’s 47-0 win over Denmark at the 1949 men’s world championship.
Despite Canada’s position as a perennial powerhouse, this year’s junior team is taking nothing for granted.
“We have to be on top of our game,” Comtois said. ”This is a tournament where if you lose one, you can’t go far in the tournament. And we are aware of that.”
Wednesday’s victory over the Danes can boost players’ confidence and help the Canadians realize they can shoot the puck well, but there are other challenges ahead, Hunter said.
The tournament’s packed schedule doesn’t give teams much time to revel in a win — or wallow in a loss.
The coaches already have talked to the players about what they need to do to continue building their game and having success in the tournament, Hunter said.
“They all get it. They all know they’re not as good as their buddies and their parents told them last night,” the coach said. ”I trust the maturity and the leadership in our team that we won’t have a spillover, like we left all our goals on the table (Wednesday) night.”
Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press