Sunday, May 26, 2024

Cole Beaudoin & Henry Mews head into NHL draft with world U18 gold medals in hand

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By Emma Zhao

Canada beating USA in the gold medal hockey game – it can’t get much sweeter than that for Ottawa’s Cole Beaudoin and Henry Mews. Except that both played prominent roles during Team Canada’s triumph at the Apr. 25-May 5 IIHF world under-18 men’s hockey championships in Finland.

Mews led Canadian defencemen in scoring with two goals and five assists in seven games, including three helpers in the championship contest, while Beaudoin gave his team its first lead in the final game as Canada rallied with four goals in the third period to win 6-4.

“The final game, with six minutes left to take the lead – it was crazy,” recounts Beaudoin, a Kanata Blazers/Nepean Raiders product. “I was just so happy for the team.”

Team Canada world U18 men’s hockey champions. Photo: IIHF

Mews had played an average of 5:32 per period, but when the gold medal was on the line in the third period of the championship game, he was called on for 7:26.

Canada had waltzed to five fairly comfortable victories in eight days to start the tournament, and then built a 5-1 lead on a Mews goal in the semi-final before hanging on to win 5-4 over Sweden to reach the final.

Mews joined Team Canada shortly after his Ottawa 67’s were eliminated in the second round of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs on Apr. 18, while Beaudoin had a slightly longer break following his Barrie Colts’ first-round exit.

Despite the short preparation period, Mews says practices and chemistry came easily since he already knew many of the other players on the team.

Henry Mews had three assists in Canada’s gold medal-winning 6-4 victory over USA in front of a sold-out crowd of 5,800 on May 5 in Espoo. Finland. Photo: IIHF

“We were just super excited to see each other,” recounts the former Ottawa Myers Automotive player who celebrated gold alongside fellow 67’s defender Frankie Marrelli of Markham.

“I have a lot of great buddies on that team,” Mews adds. “So seeing them and getting the chance to play with them is just the best part of wearing the maple leaf and playing for your country.”

For Beaudoin, playing in the U18 worlds in Finland meant visiting one of his father Eric’s first stops of a decade-long career as a professional player in Europe, after five seasons in the AHL and NHL with the Florida Panthers. Beaudoin spent several years of his childhood in Sweden, though there was no doubt that wearing the maple leaf was always a dream.

“It’s crazy to think that I was watching Team Canada as a little kid, and now fast-forward 10 years, being able to actually play for Team Canada and in the gold medal game is crazy,” he highlights. “I think just staying positive and level-headed throughout the whole experience is something that I learned.”

Both Beaudoin and Mews are now back in Ottawa for their off-seasons. Though they’ll be young for the U20 age group, both could have the chance to represent Team Canada again next winter when Ottawa hosts the IIHF world junior U20 men’s championships.

But before that comes the NHL entry draft at the end of June. Mews is ranked 37th by the NHL among North American skaters, while Beaudoin is 25th.

“That will be exciting,” signals Beaudoin. “But just staying in shape and getting ready for the combine is kind of what I’m most getting ready for now.”

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