Canada's Derek Roy looks to erase past heartbreaks with Olympic hockey gold
34-year-old says Team Canada not overlooking Germany in semifinals
By Tim Wharnsby, CBC Sports
Derek Roy is sick of settling for silver.
The 34-year-old Canadian Olympian, whose men's hockey team meets Germany in the semifinals on Friday at 7:10 a.m. ET, has won his share of championships, including the Memorial Cup with the 2002-03 Kitchener Rangers and a Swiss NLA title with 2015-16 SC Bern.
Prior to these Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Roy has pulled a Canadian sweater over his shoulders for three major tournaments – the 2003 world junior as well as the 2008 and 2009 world championships.
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His Canadian team made it to the gold-medal final in each of those tournaments, only to have all end in one-goal losses.
In 2003, Alexander Ovechkin and Russia notched a come-from-behind 3-2 victory in Halifax. In 2008, the Canadians blew a 4-2 lead entering the third period to lose 5-4 in overtime due to Ilya Kovalchuk's game-winner in Quebec City.
The following year the Russians tied Canada 1-1 midway through the first period. Then Alexander Radulov scored early in the second and the Russians hung on for a 2-1 win.
"Three silver medals in the three gold-medal finals is tough," Roy said. "Those were heartbreakers.
"The one game that sticks in the back of my mind was the world championship gold-medal game in Quebec City. We lost in overtime. Those are things you will never forget. Hopefully, we can get another chance at it, win a gold medal and it will take those blows away a little bit more."
Like each of his Canadian teammates, Roy has relished the opportunity to play for his country at the Olympics. He's in his third year in Europe, now with Linkopings HC in Sweden.
When NHL commissioner Gary Bettman made the decision last April to keep the NHLers at home, Roy began envisioning his own golden goal, like Sidney Crosby's in 2010. The dream made training last summer gratifying.
"It means a great deal," he said. "You think about all the effort you have put in during your career, all the ups and downs in your NHL career and then going to Europe and experiencing that.
"Then, getting a chance to go to the Olympics. I have family here and it's even more special to have their support."
German success story
While Canada has an easier path to the gold medal final with Germany's 4-3 overtime upset over Sweden in the quarter-finals, Roy and his teammates will not take their opposition lightly.
"They belong in the semifinals," Canadian captain Chris Kelly said of the Germans. "They're playing well. They've won two overtime games and last game they were in control. They were up 3-1 in the third period, so we need to be at our best against them. We need to stay in the moment and focus on them. We can't look too far ahead."
The Germans will be out to prove they belong as a medal contender. They finished 11th out of 12 teams at the 2010 Games in Vancouver and failed to qualify four years ago in Sochi. Many Germans felt that their inclusion in the Team Europe concept for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey was a slap in the face because Germany had its own team in the previous two World Cups.
"It's a great story and I'm so happy for those guys," said New York Islanders defenceman Dennis Seidenberg, whose younger brother Yannic plays left wing for the German national team.
“I'm very proud. It was great for him to get that overtime winner against Switzerland.”<br><br>Dennis Seidenberg's brother Yannic is playing for the German men's hockey team in his first Winter Olympics: <a href="https://t.co/fyJULME9hl">https://t.co/fyJULME9hl</a> <a href="https://t.co/W1gxTSRw9w">pic.twitter.com/W1gxTSRw9w</a>—@NYIslanders
"The last few Olympics, especially Vancouver, did not go well for us. So for them to reach the semifinals is a great success story and hopefully they can keep it going."
The 36-year-old Seidenberg will rise early and watch the game on Friday in his hotel room in downtown Toronto, where his Islanders are playing the Maple Leafs on Thursday. He's been in touch often with Yannic, 34, throughout the Winter Games and a bunch of his friends on the team sent him a photo of their celebration on Wednesday.
Canadian backup goalie Justin Peters has been a valuable resource for Canada. He plays for Cologne in the Deutschland Elite League and has provided a scouting report for Canadian starting goalie Kevin Poulin, in for the injured Ben Scrivens.
"They've got an older group," said Peters, who plays with German national team members Christian Ehrhoff and Felix Schutz. "They've been together for a while. I think that's a huge advantage for them to have that chemistry.
"They have a lot to prove. They have an awesome opportunity. So do we. We definitely can't underestimate them. We can't take them lightly."
Germans like Seidenberg, Schutz, Marcus Kink, Patrick Hager, Moritz Muller, Frank Hordler, Ehrhoff and Marcel Goc have each played more than 100 international games.
You also may recognize the name Bjorn Krupp, the 26-year-old son of former NHLer Uwe Krupp. The younger Krupp was born in the United States and was a member of the U.S. under-18 development program before playing three seasons for the OHL Belleville Bulls.
Dennis Seidenberg was happy for his hockey-playing countrymen and especially pleased for his former Boston Bruins teammate Marco Sturm, now Germany's head coach.
"It's been a crazy 48 hours," Sturm said. "We never thought we were going to come that far and I think we are hungry for more, and why not?"