When Team Canada won the gold medal at the 2006 World Junior Hockey Championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Jan. 5, CRC member Marc Staal was among the honored players.
Staal and his teammates, who came together on Dec. 17 from all over the country, took the final game in a 5-0 win over Russia. Not only did his team win gold, but Staal was named the top defenseman of the tournament—an award that recognizes his consistent efforts in his defense position.
For Staal the tournament ended in a blur of gold glory. “I really don’t remember much of it except for a feeling of euphoria. I didn’t expect it.”
Staal, 19, was born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and is a member of First Christian Reformed Church of Thunder Bay. He said he appreciates the support of his parents, Henry and Linda, also members of First CRC. Staal speaks for his three brothers when he says, “Our parents have always encouraged us to use our God-given talents, to work hard, to do our best.”
Older brother Eric, 21, plays forward for the Carolina Hurricanes in the National Hockey League. Jordan, 17, plays for the Peterborough Petes, while Jared, 15, is still at home playing for a local team.
“My faith in God informs everything that I do. I thank God for the gifts and opportunities that have come my way,” says Staal.
Presently a player for the Ontario Hockey League’s Sudbury Wolves, Staal is the New York Rangers’ first-round 2005 draft pick.