Joey Garland is living a Canadian dream
Carbonear native is on support staff for Canada’s World Junior entry
For Canadians, there are few things bigger than the World Junior hockey tournament over the Christmas holidays.
Every Boxing Day, hockey fans of all ages gather around a television set, never worrying about the hour, to watch Canada’s finest under-20 talent square off with the best that the world has to offer.
Young players grow up dreaming of participating in the tournament and hauling the red and white over their shoulder pads.
For Carbonear native Joey Garland, it was no different.
Watching the tournament along with his parents Bruce and Jean, Joey joined millions of his fellow Canadians in the yearly ritual.
It was always a dream of Joey’s to one day be a part of Team Canada in the storied tournament.
Now, some years later, the 33year-old is standing on Canada’s bench in the Malmo Arena in Malmo, Sweden for every game of the 2013- 14 World Junior Hockey Championship.
“It’s really amazing,” Joey told The Compass in the midst of preparing for Canada’s matchup with the rival United States.
Joey is a member of Canada’s support staff, serving as an athletic therapist.
He is responsible for tending to any injuries sustained by the players, and the subsequent treatment of players to get them back on the ice as quickly as possible.
“My role i s performancebased,” said Joey.
It is not Joey’s first experience at the international level. He has previously been a part of two Hockey Canada teams in Sochi, Russia and the Czech Rebulic.
However, he said there is a big difference between those experiences and this one.
“The players are a lot more mature,” said Joey.
At the World Junior tournament, the players are treated more like professional players. Much of Canada’s 22-man roster has been drafted to National Hockey League clubs, and they are treated as such.
“The other ones, you try to watch over them a little more and give them some guidance,” said Joey. “But, at this level you really respect their space … you guide them but you let them go about their own thing to get ready for the game and prepare themselves.”
Living the dream
Joey has always wanted to be an athletic therapist. In fact, he wrote in his Carbonear Collegiate yearbook that his dream ambition was to be in his current position.
When he became a member of the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League, Joey had another dream — to win a Memorial Cup as the top major junior team in the country.
He attained that goal in 2010, and is now living out another.
Since joining the Spitfires nine years ago, Joey said a goal of his has been to be a part of the staff at the World Junior tournament, along with the junior championships.
“We did that a couple of years ago, and ever since I’ve been waiting on a call for the World Juniors,” he said. “Typically in the past there has been an application process. This year, they didn’t even have the application.
“Knowing that the camp was in early August and by early July I hadn’t heard anything, so I didn’t think I was in the running for it. So when I found out I was ecstatic.”
Joey has known since the beginning of last July he would be a member of the staff heading the Malmo.
“I was in the Dominican Republic on vaca- tion when they were trying to contact me,” he said.
After learning of his selection, Joey joined the rest of the team in Lake Placid, New York for a summer camp.
Then, there was a two-month build up prior to the tournament, culminating with a camp on Dec. 15 in Toronto.
A Canadian atmosphere
Any time Canada plays in the tournament, there is always a large Canadian contingent of fans waiting to cheer them on.
The tournament could be held anywhere there is ice, and Canadians would be there to support the team. Malmo has been no different. “I’m not a player, and I understand that, but walking out of the tunnel and all of the Canadian fans are here. There are probably around 3,000 fans here going nuts and calling you by name. It is really an amazing experience,” said Joey.
Prior to game time, it is the same thing he said.
“Just walking around outside the rink the couple of hours before the game, there are just hundreds, and hundreds of people in Canadian jerseys,” he said. “You’re out for dinner after the game and the whole bar is Canadian.”
Joey has seen Newfoundland flags around the town, and one night, the bar they were in broke out into a on-the-spot rendition of the Canadian national anthem.
“It’s a feeling beyond words,” he said.