Joey Gar­land is liv­ing a Cana­dian dream

Car­bon­ear na­tive is on sup­port staff for Canada’s World Ju­nior en­try

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER

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.

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