Kings reflect on World Junior experience - LA Kings Insider

With Hudson Fasching stringing together several quality performances  in the World Junior Championships in advance of the United States’ group play finale against Canada on Tuesday, I asked several Los Angeles Kings about their experiences playing in the world’s top tournament of players under 20 years of age.

Eleven Kings have played in at least one World Junior Championship, with Anze Kopitar also participating in the WJC B-Pool with Slovenia in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

The 11 Kings:

Jeff Vinnick / Getty Images SportDustin Brown – United States, 2002, 2003
Jeff Carter – Canada, 2004, 2005
Drew Doughty – Canada, 2008
Colin Fraser – Canada, 2005
Matt Greene – United States, 2003
Martin Jones – Canada, 2010
Trevor Lewis – United States, 2007
Robyn Regehr – Canada, 1999
Mike Richards – Canada, 2004, 2005
Jarret Stoll – Canada, 2001, 2002
Slava Voynov – Russia, 2007, 2008, 2009

The 2005 gold medal-winning Canadian team that Richards captained and also featured Fraser and Carter was bolstered by the NHL lockout and is widely considered to be one of the greatest teams assembled in tournament history. The Kings will face off against another member of the 2005 team tonight in Brent Seabrook; in addition to the four players referenced, that team was also filled out by a decent collection of talent in Shea Weber, Dion Phaneuf, Sidney Crosby, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Patrice Bergeron.

“We were pretty lucky to have a lot of guys that we probably wouldn’t have had if the league was playing right, and a lot of guys would’ve been in the NHL that year,” Jeff Carter said. “It was a lot of fun. It’s a pretty easy game to play when you’re with guys like that. It was good.”

Do current National Hockey League players pay attention to the tournament?

“We try, but it’s tough. When you play in the States, you don’t get much coverage. You get the American games, but nobody wants to watch those, anyways,” Carter joked. “We watch as much as we can, obviously.”

Jeff Vinnick / Getty Images Sport

Earlier on the road trip, several tournament alums recalled their memories of the passion and rivalries incited by the World Junior Championships.

Dustin Brown, on his World Junior experience against Canada:
Luckily, I got to play Canada in the World Juniors in Canada, which is always, I think, more special. Very much like the 2010 Olympics, when you play Canada in Canada it’s a little different. The year the U.S. won, that was my first year here so I didn’t [play] in that one. I played them once there and then a couple times in the World Championships.

Brown, on the recent success of the United States at World Juniors:
Like I said, that first time, my first year here, that was the first time they won it. Now, they’ve won two or three more. I think it’s just a tribute to growing the game and getting better players or getting better athletes playing hockey and you’re starting to see that now.

Colin Fraser, on Canada’s goal heading into the 2005 tournament:
I think it’s obviously it’s to win every year, but it’s the lockout year right? So we had, gosh, a handful of guys that probably would’ve been in the NHL. Off the top of my head, you’ve got Rick and Carts, Getzlaf, Perry, Phaneuf, Weber, all those guys, probably more than that, would’ve all been in the NHL. Crosby, yeah, he was only [17]. He couldn’t play [in the NHL], but Patrice Bergeron was in the NHL and then was in the American League for that year, so that’s eight guys right there. So I think definitely that year, to win, when guys play in the NHL it changes the whole dynamic of the team, depending on who gets released and whatnot, right? I mean that’s eight roster spots, that would’ve changed the whole team.

Fraser, on whether the U.S. was Canada’s biggest rival at the time he played:
I didn’t play the year before, but Rick and Carts played the year before and lost in Finland in ’04 to U.S.A. And they were up maybe 3-1 or 4-1 and kind of collapsed in the third period there. I can’t remember, but anyways, they collapsed and U.S.A. won. So I think the U.S.A. was the number one rivalry, but they were in the other pool so we didn’t even play them because they were on A and B pool so we didn’t play them. And the only way we could’ve played them was the finals.

GRAND FORKS, ND - JANUARY 4:  Sidney Crosby #9 of Canada is congratulated by head coach Brent Sutter after Canada won the gold medal game 6-1 over Russia at the World Junior Hockey Championships on January 4, 2005 at the Ralph Englestad Arena in Grand For

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.