A pair of Okanagan Hockey Academy alumni are coming home with bronze medals.
Joe Hicketts, Ryan Gropp and the Canadian Under-18 team capped off the IIHF World Under-18 Championship with a 3-1 win over Sweden in the bronze medal showdown on Sunday.
Hicketts led the Canadians with two assists in the game, as well as a team-high +2 rating, bringing his overall tournament stats to four points (1-3-4) and +3 in seven games.
Gropp didn’t hit the score-sheet in the final game, but the Seattle Thunderbirds forward did finish the tournament with a goal and an assist, along with a +4 rating and 13 shots on goal in seven games.
The Canadians finished first overall in the preliminary round with a 3-0-1 record, and were able to knock of Switzerland with a thrilling 3-2 victory in the quarterfinals. A 4-3 overtime loss to Czech Republic ended Canada’s bid for a gold medal.
This isn’t the first time Hicketts has brought home a medal with the national under-18 team. The Victoria Royals defenceman won gold with Canada at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial last August.
The United States defeated the Czech Republic 5-2 in the gold medal game.
I can confidently say the Okanagan Hockey Academy had an impact on me as a hockey player but more importantly as a person. OHA taught me to bring my best self in all aspects of life including as a student, player and community member. I learned many life skills during my time at OHA that I will take with me much longer than my playing career and that is the greatest gift the staff, coaches, billets and community gave to me. I strongly believe I am a more well-rounded individual because of my time at OHA. I hope any young hockey player with drive, determination and a passion to become a better player and person is able to have the chance to attend somewhere so amazing. For me OHA gave me the best balance of academics, athletics, family and social life. I am extremely grateful for my time at Okanagan Hockey Academy.