Defender Tyler Myers of the Vancouver Canucks added his name to that elite list on 28 May in Tampere when Canada defeated Germany 5-2 to capture men’s gold. For the 33-year-old former first-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres (12th overall), it’s an accomplishment he’ll cherish both individually and team-wise.
“I even had a couple of questions about it when I was over there before we made the medal round,” Myers told IIHF.com. “To know I had a chance at joining that list was pretty exciting for me, and then we got it done. It was an amazing experience. The guys were unbelievable. We had a perfect combination of having fun, but also being there to work and to win.”
There was a long gap between his two previous golds and this one. With Eberle and Ellis, Myers suited up for the Pat Quinn-coached U18 squad that rocked the host Russians 8-0 in the 2008 final in Kazan. That trio also celebrated home-ice World Junior gold in Ottawa in 2009 after a 5-1 win over Sweden.
Knowing that the clock is ticking on his IIHF career inspired Myers to play for Canadian coach Andre Tourigny in Riga, which co-hosted with Tampere.
“We [the Canucks] had a good end to the season,” Myers explained. “We were trending in a positive way with our group here in Vancouver. And it was a tough decision to go to the Worlds. Our family had just come off having a third baby. I have to give a lot of props to my wife for staying home with the kids while I went and played. Given my age, I didn't know if I was going to get another opportunity to go. So I was very eager to get back over there and go for an IIHF gold medal for the third time in my career. Luckily it worked out.”
Offence isn’t the towering veteran’s main focus today. Myers registered a career-high 48 points in his Calder Trophy-winning season of 2009-10 with Buffalo. He had one goal and 17 points last year with Vancouver. Yet with that said, the one goal he potted at the 2023 Worlds was huge.
That set up a semi-final clash with Latvia, which Canada won 4-2. However, Myers’ Vancouver teammate, goalie Arturs Silovs, kept it close. The acrobatic 22-year-old Riga native, who was named tournament MVP, recorded 32 saves and helped Latvia carry a 2-1 lead into the third period.
“He almost stole it from us in the semis, and we almost got pretty mad at him!” Myers recalled with a laugh. “He played unbelievable. But we were finally able to get one by him. Even dating back to the end of last season when he played [five] games with [Vancouver], he’s been playing very well. And the Latvians were a very tough team to get past. With our group stage in Latvia, we got to know a lot of people around there. I was very happy for them to get that historic bronze medal.”
Beyond Myers’ IIHF legacy, the talk around him this year will surround his expiring contract and whether he has a future in Vancouver or another NHL market. Still, if he manages to play a full 82-game schedule – not one game less – he’ll hit the 1,000-game mark in April. Entering 2023-24, it’s a feat that fewer than 400 NHL players have pulled off, and that’s not lost on Myers.
“I think it’s an incredible milestone for any player to hit,” he said. “It’s a lot of games in this league. If I'm fortunate enough to play every game this year, that’d be an unbelievable feeling. But in saying that, I still have a lot of hunger to play a lot more. We’ll see where things go in the next few years.”