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Pavelski: I'm Honored to Captain Team USA

By Dan Scifo - Special to, 09/16/16, 12:00PM EDT


San Jose Sharks star will lead Americans into 2016 World Cup

San Jose Sharks’ captain Joe Pavelski is always honored whenever he gets a chance to compete while wearing the Team USA jersey.

To be captain of the team is a completely different feeling.

Pavelski, who last season led the Sharks to their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history, was named captain of the Team USA squad that will compete at the third World Cup of Hockey, which begins Saturday and runs through Oct. 1 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

“It’s hard to describe because it’s a tremendous honor,” Pavelski said. “You don’t really expect to be named a captain with everyone in the locker room and all the guys you respect in there. All these events are really special to play in, but to captain one of these teams is a pretty cool honor, and obviously there’s a big responsibility that comes with that.”

Pavelski learned he would captain Team USA on the ice after a practice in Columbus.

“Obviously, there were some different reports leaked, so you knew maybe it was sort of a possibility, but the official word was on the ice, so that was pretty cool,” Pavelski said. “It’s always nice just to kind of be on the ice, in that kind of setting around your teammates.

“There was definitely a lot of excitement and emotions when that happened.”

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Pavelski registered 38 goals and 78 points for the Sharks during the 2015-16 season, while leading the league with 11 game-winning goals. Pavelski also led the league in goals during the Stanley Cup playoffs with 14.

He scored 116 goals the previous three seasons, tops among Americans and second to only Washington Capitals – and Team Russia – captain Alexander Ovechkin. Last season, Pavelski was one of four Americans among the top eight scorers in the NHL, the first time in history four of the top eight scorers in the regular season were U.S. born.

“There’s a lot of talent, a lot of character and a lot of respect in the locker room,” Pavelski said. “It’s just a bigger responsibility to make sure you bring your ‘A’ game and you’re at your best for them.

“You know those guys are going to be competing and there are a lot of leaders and characters in that room. It’s just about holding yourself to a high standard and if you can step up at a certain time or give a little something extra, hopefully you can deliver for the guys.”

Pavelski, who won a silver medal as a member of Team USA during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, was also on the 2014 Olympic team that played in Sochi, Russia and appeared in the 2009 IIHF World Championships. He has two goals and 10 points in 17 international games.

“Coming into the league, I didn’t play World Juniors and a lot of extra Team USA stuff, so to work my way in there and to be on these teams is pretty special,” Pavelski said. “You always look forward to these events.”

Pavelski, a native of Plover, Wisconsin, won a Wisconsin State Hockey Championship with Stevens Point Area in 2002. He also led Waterloo to a Clark Cup in the United States Hockey League and helped Wisconsin to the NCAA Frozen Four championship as a sophomore during the 2005-06 season.

“When you’re playing around, when you’re growing up and laying in bed, you always dream of that perfect situation where you deliver in big moments,” Pavelski said. “You don’t ever necessarily believe it’s going to happen, but it’s the thought that runs through your head.

“I think as you grow up you keep playing, you keep shooting pucks, working out and just really enjoying the game and it all kind of adds up one day.”

Pavelski hopes it adds up in a big way for the Americans at the World Cup of Hockey. He distinctly remembers the inaugural World Cup in 1996, won by the United States.

“I was pretty young, playing youth hockey and I think we had a hockey tournament right around then,” Pavelski said. “I remember being out at a sports bar with everybody and there was a lot of excitement.

“That was right around the time when we were all coming up and I think that definitely got it going. It’s always special playing in these events and watching just how that team came together in the end and found a way to win.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

World Cup News

Team USA Schedule & Results

Date Opponent/Event Location Result
Fri, Sept. 9 Canada (Pre-Tourn.) Columbus, OH (Nationwide) W, 4-2
Sat., Sept. 10 Canada (Pre-Tourn.) Ottawa, Ont. L, 2-5
Tues., Sept. 13 Finland (Pre-Tourn.) Washington, D.C. (Verizon) W, 3-2
Sat., Sept. 17 Team Europe Toronto (ACC) L, 0-3
Tues., Sept. 20 Canada Toronto (ACC) L, 2-4
Thurs., Sept. 22 Czech Republic Toronto (ACC) L, 3-4

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