Team USA Celebrates Gold Medal Win at World Juniors tournament
Team USA Captain Rutger McGroarty sings the Star-Spangled Banner with his teammates

Team USA Defeated Sweden 6-2 to Capture Juniors Title

On Friday, The USA men’s junior hockey team completed its quest for gold at the World Junior Championship in Gothenburg, Sweden. The gold medal game was very competitive for the first two periods, before the U.S. pulled away from Sweden in the third, with captain Rutger McGroarty icing up the gold medal on an empty net goal with just over three minutes remaining.

It was the sixth time the USA men have won gold at the championship and the 15th time they have medaled. The team finished with a 7-0 overall record in the tournament, with one win in the preliminary round coming in overtime.

Team USA Tastes Gold at World Juniors
Team USA Tastes Gold at World Juniors

“The guys played excellent today. It’s a joy for them. They focused on getting to this game and playing their best for the last game of the tournament and I thought they did that. It’s a great honor to be a part of a winning team.”

Team USA Head Coach David Carle on the team’s performance in the gold medal game.

A Gold Medal Ceremony For The Ages

As outstanding as the team’s play on the ice was throughout the tournament and in the gold medal game, it was the flag-raising at the medal ceremony that caught the attention of the world.

Americans in recent years have become all too familiar, unfortunately, with athletes not respecting the national anthem. It’s one thing when players such as Colin Kaepernick or other professional athletes protest or refuse to participate in the national anthem. That is disrespectful, but they are only representing themselves.

It is another thing entirely when athletes who have been selected to play for the United States and represent their country show that same disrespect. From Megan Rapinoe to Gwen Berry, it also shows a lack of grace, gratitude, or humility in addition to that disrespect.

With that backdrop, it is very refreshing to see the young men on Team USA hockey not only standing for the anthem but belting out the words at the top of their lungs as they grin from ear to ear. And, of course, they are all arm-in-arm as they do so, which makes it all even better.

Praise For Team USA At The Highest Levels

The enthusiasm and patriotism of Team USA did not go unnoticed. None other than American Olympic hockey legend Mike Eruzione congratulated them both for the win and for their national pride.

It doesn’t get any better than having Rizzo himself recognize your achievement.

Former ESPN host Sage Steele, who has been outspoken recently about woke politics in sports, also congratulated the men, while blasting her former employer for not even mentioning the win on any of its social media accounts.

Retired U.S. Women’s soccer player Carli Lloyd — who had once knelt for the anthem, but refused to kneel in her final match at the 2020 Olympics — was also ebullient about the gold medal ceremony.

And, of course, “Problematic Woman of the Year” herself, Riley Gaines, chimed in to congratulate the team’s performance and their patriotism.

A Solid Future For Team USA Players

The U.S. Juniors had a very strong roster for this year’s tournament, with 10 NHL first-round picks on the team, including captain McGroarty (Winnipeg) and alternate captain Cutter Gauthier (Philadelphia). Nearly every other player on the team who has been drafted (some are not eligible for the draft until 2024) are second or third-round picks.

But regardless of their NHL futures, futures in other professional hockey leagues, or futures outside of hockey altogether, winning gold for the United States is something they will all be proud of for the rest of their lives.

Judging by how loudly and cheerfully they all sang the national anthem, we’re pretty sure they know it.

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