North Deltan wins gold in Switzerland

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Byron Ritchie plays professionally in Europe, but last week in Switzerland, he won a gold medal while playing for Canada.

The 5’10” 185-pound forward from North Delta was part of the Canadian team which won gold at the Spengler Cup international tournament in Davos, Switzerland.

Canada ripped HC Davos, the host team of the six-team club tournament, 7-2 in Monday’s championship game for its first gold medal since 2007.

Canada was upset 2-1 in overtime by Adler Mannheim of Germany in their first game, but then blanked the host HC Davos squad 5-0 in their second on Thursday to finish atop their group after round robin play. A 5-1 romp past HC Fribourg-Gotteron of Switzerland put Canada in Monday’s final.

Ritchie played in three games for Canada, scoring twice while on special teams and adding two assists. Both goals came in the round robin win over Davos, the first coming with Canada shorthanded, the second while Canada was on the power play.

First played in 1923, the Spengler Cup annually pits Davos and Canada against four European club teams in a six-day tournament. The Canadian team is comprised of players based in Europe for the season, and this year’s team was bolstered by several players usually in the National Hockey League at this time of year.

Due to the NHL lockout, stars such as John Tavares (New York Islanders), Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins), Tyler Seguin (Boston) and Sam Gagner (Edmonton Oilers) are currently playing in European games.

Ritchie was a member of last year’s Canadian team which was eliminated in a quarterfinal loss, winning just one of three games.

He currently plays for SC Bern of the Swiss Elite League – where he is a teammate of Tavares – and has scored 14 goals and 37 points in 32 games. Now in his second season with Bern and fifth in Europe, Ritchie played 324 games in the NHL with four teams, including the Vancouver Canucks.

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