NHL closes the door to the Olympics and opens the door to others like Landon Ferraro

Landon Ferraro played his first game for Canada in 12 years and could find himself on the Olympic roster.

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“It was an unreal time”, this is how Landon Ferraro sums up his week playing for his country.


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After 77 NHL games and nine years in North American professional hockey, the 30-year-old Vancouver-born forward has been practicing his trade in Germany for three seasons. And for the first time since he was a teenager, he got the call to play for Canada.

He scored a goal in three games for the rojiblancos at the recent Channel One Cup in Moscow, where the Canadians finished fifth in a five-team tournament.

Canadian forward Landon Ferraro (L) attacks Finnish goalkeeper Christian Heljanko's net during the Euro Hockey Tour Channel One Cup ice hockey match between Canada and Finland at CSKA Arena in Moscow on December 18, 2021.
Canadian forward Landon Ferraro (L) attacks Finnish goalkeeper Christian Heljanko’s net during the Euro Hockey Tour Channel One Cup ice hockey match between Canada and Finland at CSKA Arena in Moscow on December 18, 2021. Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV /AFP via Getty Images

Hockey Canada officials realized they had to consider a plan B in case NHL players didn’t get their wish and were forced to withdraw from the Beijing Olympics.

Wednesday, that happened.

And now players like Ferraro are completely on the radar. It is no longer a case of what if, now it is about who and now.

“Much cooler than I could have thought,” he said of the tournament, which concluded on Sunday with Russia taking the title. “Now just wait and see what they (the selection committee) decide.”


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I was totally blown away by the initial call-up in November. Hockey Canada needed to put together two lists for the Christmas tournaments, one for Channel One and one for the traditional Spengler Cup tournament in Davos, Switzerland, which Canada is a regular favorite for the title. But Hockey Canada withdrew from the Spengler Cup due to COVID-19 concerns, so the only group of players that head coach Claude Julien has seen as a collective before choosing his non-NHL team for Beijing will be Ferraro’s group.

“Honestly, I had no idea why they were calling,” he said. “I didn’t know anything about the Channel One Cup and German teams generally don’t send guys to Spengler. Definitely not expecting to hear the words “Olympic long list”.


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He is in his second season with Kölner Haie in the German Eishockey League.

“I got a text message on my phone (from one of the selectors) after one of my games saying they were from hockey Canada and if I could call them. So I came home and took my dog ​​for a walk when I called him. I was so excited that I never thought I would get another chance to wear a Canada jersey. The last time I did it was at Sub 18. I couldn’t get the smile off my face when I went back inside to tell my wife, ”said former Everett Silvertips captain. (In addition to the U18s, he also played U17s for Canada.)

Then he called his parents.

First his dad – “he was very excited” – then his mother, who was also excited, but with a little warning.

“Obviously she was very happy for me. But she was also a bit sad because she had just booked her flights and come see me on 12-20 (December), ”he explained. The problem was that he would be in Russia from the 13th to the 19th.


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“With COVID he hasn’t seen me play in a year and a half and he loves the German Christmas markets. I’ve been talking about them for a month, ”he said with a laugh.

“She got over it,” he said with another laugh. “She is very happy for me. She knows what it means to me to wear this shirt again. “

The opportunity to be an Olympic athlete is incredible.

“So many decisions others have to make before you really think about it. Right now I’m just trying to focus on my team here. We have had a great streak and I feel better than in years after having fully recovered, “he said.

The COVID factor is there, of course.

“That’s something I’ll think about more if it really becomes,” he said.

And on the question of China hosting the Olympics, he pointed to the people who make the big decisions.

“That is something the government and the COC need to talk about and make a decision about,” he said.

So now it’s wait and see. Did he do enough in front of Julien and the other members of the selection committee? You will find out very soon.

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