Jack Patterson isn’t letting Canada’s long history of medal-winning psych him out ahead of an international tournament for one reason – he wants to win another.
Patterson will be lacing up and hitting the ice as a forward with Team Canada until March 12 (he began March 2) at the 2019 International University Sports Federation (FISU) Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.
The first thing he did after finding out on Feb. 18 that he’d been selected was call his parents to tell them the good news.
“I was thrilled when I found out. It’s always been a dream of mine to play for Team Canada,” he says.
Patterson, 23, hails from Bedford and is currently living in Oshawa, where he studies at and plays hockey for the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Ont. He’ll represent the school as he plays against other university athletes from around the globe.
He is also a graduate of the Valley Wildcats junior hockey franchise in Berwick, where he played during the 2015-2016 season.
Patterson says he had no idea what to expect or what the tournament would look like before landing in Russia to meet his teammates.
“I didn’t really know what it was going to be like over here, but it’s nice and the athletes’ village is all new buildings. The rink is brand new and really nice, so I’m looking forward to getting things going and to explore the city a little bit more,” he says.
The team opened with a March 2 game against Great Britain and will play five more games before the medal round begins March 11. Bronze and gold medal games are set for March 12.
Patterson has had only a few practices with his teammates but says everything is shaping up nicely despite never having played together before.
“Looking at the roster we have a strong team with a lot of really good players from around the country,” he says.
Canada has reached the podium in 20 of their 21 years competing in the tournament’s ice hockey category, including three medals at the 2017 FISU Winter Universiade that included a silver in women’s hockey and a bronze in men’s.
Canada has won seven gold medals since its men’s team debuted in 1968 and the inaugural women’s tournament in 2009.
Patterson says he’s putting this long history of medal winning out of his mind as he gets ready to tackle the competition because he wants to keep looking ahead at each game as a blank slate.
“We can’t focus on the past. We just have to focus on getting better each game and working towards our goal of getting another medal for Canada,” he says.
He and his teammates are operating under the assumption that every game will be tough, but have Kazakhstan and Russia singled out as teams that could prove their toughest opponents.
He says he’s looking forward to representing Canada at what will be his first international tournament and playing against athletes from different countries.
And it’s an opportunity he says could never have happened without his time with the Wildcats.
“Without the Wildcats I wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to go play university hockey, so I am grateful for my time in the [Annapolis] Valley,” he says.
For more information on the 2019 Winter Universiade, visit www.krsk2019.com.