Men's Hockey's Jack Drury Earns Silver at World Junior Championship
Drury and the Americans earned a silver medal after bowing out to Finland in the renowned tournament’s finale on Saturday night. Kaapo Kakko punched in a rebound with just 86 seconds left in the tilt, seizing the 3-2 lead for his Finnish teammates and sucking the life out of a promising third-period rally from the United States.
“It’s pretty special anytime you can wear the USA jersey, and especially [with] the tournament being in Canada,” Drury said. “It’s such a big deal up here…. Obviously, it didn’t end up the way we wanted, but I think we’re all proud we got a medal, and it’s something for USA Hockey that they can definitely build off of.”
Drury, a Carolina Hurricanes prospect, played in all seven of his country’s games, often skating alongside San Jose Sharks draft choice Sasha Chmelevski. The third forward rounding out Drury’s line alternated between Providence College’s Jay O’Brien, a Philadelphia Flyers selection, and the expected first-overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Jack Hughes.
Drury’s modest role on team USA’s fourth line was a testament to his squad’s depth. Once the 17-year-old Hughes hears his name get called in June, all 13 forwards will be NHL prospects, with nearly half being first-round selections.
“When you get here, you’ll do anything you can to help the team,” Drury said. “[My role] speaks volumes to how far USA Hockey has come, and how much talent’s out there.”
Drury has assumed a major role among Harvard’s center ranks this NCAA season, logging 12 points (4–8—12) through 11 contests and providing Crimson coach Ted Donato ’91 a certain two-way reliability uncharacteristic of a freshman.
The Winnetka, Ill., native, while striving for gold alongside his American comrades, appreciates the magnitude of a silver medal in such a special international tournament. The World Junior Championship marks an annual celebration of junior hockey’s most elite echelon — one in which the United States grows its stake seemingly every year.
“You watch [the World Junior Championship] every single year when you’re growing up,” Drury said nostalgically. “For an American kid, watching the gold medal in 2010, with [now-Washington Capitals defenseman] John Carlson’s OT winner, was kind of a huge stepping stone for USA Hockey.”
Over the past few weeks, Drury was afforded the experience of skating for his country — an honor he shares with both his father and his uncle.
The Harvard team, which returns to action on Tuesday when it hosts Boston University, will hope to regain Drury’s valuable services as soon as possible. Historically, the Crimson has given its players returning from the World Junior Championship some leeway as far as how immediately they rejoin to the lineup, given the strains of travel and high-octane hockey that accompany the tournament experience. Drury, however, would like to dress for the crosstown rivalry clash with the Terriers.
“Obviously, I want to be playing,” Drury said. “I want to be in the lineup in big games like [versus BU]. The team had a big overtime win against RPI, and I want to get right back in and kind of build off that with all the guys.”
Drury was one of a handful of 18-year-olds representing the stars and stripes this holiday season and is thus eligible for next year’s tournament. He is excited to bring his experience from this year’s silver-winning squad to the team in 2020, as he hopes to follow the footsteps of college teammate and fellow Hurricanes prospect, Adam Fox, by claiming a gold medal at the World Juniors.
“[As an 18-year-old], you definitely get to learn from a lot of the older guys,” Drury noted. “We had some great leaders on our team…. I am eligible next year, so obviously, hopefully, I can kind of use this as motivation to try and make that team next year, and to make something happen in the tournament next year.”
—Staff writer Spencer R. Morris can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMorrisTHC.