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Whitehorse hockey player Dylan Cozens prepares for the 'biggest season' of his life

After winning a gold medal at a world championship on Saturday, the 17-year-old is now looking at his upcoming season with the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

After winning a gold medal at a world championship, the 17-year-old is now looking ahead

Dylan Cozens, right, with teammate and fellow alternate captain Bowen Byram after winning the gold medal at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. (Andy Devlin/Hockey Canada Image)

Dylan Cozens is preparing for the biggest hockey season of his life.

The Whitehorse hockey player just netted a gold medal in an international tournament — the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup — in Edmonton last week. Cozens played for Team Canada at the under-18 world championships, which beat Sweden for the gold medal on Saturday.

Now, the 17-year-old is heading to training camp in Lethbridge, Alta., where he plays for the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League.

His playing this season will have a big impact on if, and how quickly, he will be chosen in next summer's NHL draft. One prominent commentator, Craig Button with TSN, predicts he could go as high as the second pick overall.

"Obviously there's a little pressure that comes with that," said Cozens.

"But the draft is still a long ways away and lots of things will change by the time of the draft, so I can't focus on that too much, just focus on myself and reach my potential and play best every game."

Cozens, in black, during the semi-final game against the United States in which he scored the controversial tying goal that sent the game into overtime. (Andy Devlin & Rob Wallator/Hockey Canada Images)

Over the weekend, Cozens also experienced for the first time what it's like to be at the centre of a controversy.

He scored the tying goal in Canada's semi-final game against the United States just as the buzzer went at the end of the third period. The officials ruled the goal was good while the TSN broadcasters said the clock ran out just before the puck crossed the goal line.

The rules of the tournament however, did not allow for a video review and the goal stood.

"During the play I didn't know how much time was left and I knew that it was running down," said Cozens.

He said as his teammate Bowen Byram passed him the puck, he could hear the crowd yelling shoot.

"I just tried to get it off as quick as I could and you know what happened, real time it looked like a goal, and everyone thought it was a goal, that's what they called it, so it is what it is," said Cozens.

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