Steven Stamkos has always been on Hockey Canada’s radar. Before he was out of the OHL, and before he was drafted, Stamkos was a Team Canada superstar. Below are the tournaments Stamkos played in for Team Canada before people were asking the question, “Seen Stamkos?”
Canada Winter Games
In 2007, Stamkos got his very first call and was named to Team Ontario’s hockey team for the Canada Winter Games (CWG). The CWG are a miniature Olympics featuring teams representing Canada’s provinces and territories.
In the opening game, Stamkos scored five goals and one assist while playing with future NHLers Alex Pietrangelo, Nazem Kadri, Michael Del Zotto and Adam Henrique. Ontario defeated Prince Edward Island 11-3, and Stamkos added two more goals and one more assists against Manitoba.
In the quarter finals, Ontario blanked Nova Scotia 6-0 with Stamkos adding two more goals to his total. The Semi-Finals would give Ontario its first challenge, but they defeated British Columbia 4-3 nonetheless.
The gold medal match would see Ontario and Manitoba face off again, and Ontario walk away with a 6-4 victory (Stamkos: 1G, 2A), and Stamkos would acquire his first gold medal.
Total Stats: 11G, 4A, 15Pts
IIHF U18 Mens World Junior Championships
Stamkos’ first time putting on the red maple leaf was also in 2007, at the Men’s U18 World Championships. Suiting up with the likes of Drew Doughty, Luke Schenn, Logan Couture, and Kyle Turris, Canada was expected to go far. The team set expectations high by winning their group in round one, defeating Germany 7-3 (1G, 2A), Latvia 9-1 (3A), USA 3-2 in a shootout (1A), and Russia 5-2 (1G, 1A).
However, in the semi-finals they would be upset by Team USA 4-3 in a shootout (1A), and would lose the bronze medal game to Sweden 8-3 (No points).
Total Stats: 2G, 7A, 10Pts.
Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament
The Ivan Hlinka is an U18 Men’s hockey tournament that is held every August. Formerly known as the Phoenix Cup, Pacific Cup, and Nation’s Cup, the current name comes from the tournament being renamed after Ivan Hlinka, one of the first Czech hockey superstars.
It is an international event, but is not an IIHF sanctioned event, so the results have no impact on IIHF standings. Hosted around the world in Japan and Mexico, it settled in Slovakia and the Czech Republic, alternating between the two countries. Since the tournament takes place in August, and not during the CHL season, it’s Canada’s best chance to show off its top U18 players.
Stamkos would join his regular teammates throughout his Team Canada journey, Kadri, Jordan Eberle, Pietrangelo, and Del Zotto. Canada would go 2-1 in the round robin, losing 3-2 to Sweden in a shootout (No Points), beating Switzerland 3-2 (1G, 1A), and the Czechs 4-1 (1A), but would ultimately end up losing to Russia 5-4 in the bronze medal game (2A).
Total Stats: 1G, 4A, 5Pts.
Steven Stamkos would go on to become a star in the NHL and for Team Canada on its biggest stages, but everyone has to start somewhere, and for Stamkos, it was losing bronze medal games.