Хроника Хоккея


O'Sullivan overcomes early difficulties to bask in the gold
06.01.2004. Wharnsby, Tim. The Globe and Mail

As his teammates celebrated the first world junior hockey title for the United States, Patrick O'Sullivan let all his emotions out.

Joy. Relief. Thankfulness.

Only O'Sullivan can understand the hockey hardship he has endured because of an abusive father who refuses to back off and let his son go.

"You try to imagine what it would be like to win something like this," O'Sullivan said. "But this is a far better feeling than I imagined.

"I've had some tough times, but hopefully that's in the past. Winning is part of the healing."

His father John has provided most of the tough times. O'Sullivan said his father has battered him verbally and physically as he was growing up and as recently as his rookie season with the Mississauga IceDogs of the Ontario Hockey League three years ago.

Whether O'Sullivan played well or badly, there was always something John figured his son could do better. So the father would beat his son.

Enough was enough. A restraining order was placed on John last year. O'Sullivan has been largely free of his father and he feels a lot freer as a result.

John still tries to interfere with Patrick's progress. He sneaks into some games without being noticed, but without the face-to-face contact, John has resorted to mailing his son letters, offering hockey advice.

Patrick doesn't read them. He rips up the unopened letters and tosses them away.

Drafted by Hockey Night in Canada analyst Don Cherry when he was running the IceDogs, O'Sullivan has been dynamite in his third season with Mississauga. He entered the world junior tournament with 28 goals and 51 points in 29 games.

He scored once in the United States' first five games at the world junior tournament, but had two goals in yesterday's 4-3 victory over Canada in the gold-medal final before 7,364 fans at the Helsingin Jaahalli.

O'Sullivan, drafted last year by the Minnesota Wild, spearheaded a third-period comeback with his first goal, helping the United States overcome a 3-1 deficit. The second goal was the game winner, but only because he was the last U.S. player to touch the puck when Canadian goalie Marc-André Fleury banked a clearing attempt off his own teammate and into the net.

"Absolutely. We'll see who is laughing now," O'Sullivan said when asked if he will be showing his gold medal to his Mississauga teammates.

His Canadian-born father played several years of minor pro hockey, including a stint in Winston-Salem, N.C., where he met Patrick's mother, Cathie. The two married, but are now divorced.

Patrick, who was primarily raised in Sterling Heights, Mich., did spend a couple of seasons playing hockey in Toronto when he was seven and eight years old. When he was 13 he played a season of junior B in Strathroy, Ont.

Before joining the IceDogs, O'Sullivan played for the U.S. under-17 team based in Ann Arbor, Mich. After his rookie year in Mississauga, O'Sullivan returned to Ann Arbor to finish the season with the under-18 team.

He lived with U.S. junior coach Mike Eaves, the coach of the under-18 team at that time, and his son Patrick Eaves, a member of the under-18 team as well as the gold-medal winning U.S. junior team.

"He was part of our extended family," Mike Eaves said.

Zach Parise said the U.S. players have a special respect for O'Sullivan as a talented player and what he has endured.

"We all know his story," Parise said. "He's had to put up with a lot and as friends and teammates we have tried to be there for him.

"That was a world-class goal he scored for us, to get us back in the game. We're really happy for him."

The United States had eight players from last year's team that lost to Canada in a semi-final.

They also had 14 members from the team that won the world under-18 championship in 2002. O'Sullivan was also a member of that team.

Credit Mike Eaves for allowing his players to add another gold medal.

He juggled some lines and sat defenceman Matt Carle, who made gaffes that led to two Canadian goals.

He also gave a speech during the second intermission.

"We knew we could play better," Eaves said. "So we wanted to go out there and do some things that we could control -- put some pucks and bodies at the net.

"We may have gotten some bounces, but the harder you work, the luckier you get. We could have folded because nothing was going right, but we stuck with it."

Первая страничка молодежных чемпионатов мира 2004 года
Подгруппа А - подробнее
Россия, Словакия, США, Швеция. Австрия
Подгруппа В - подробнее
Канада, Финляндия, Чехия, Швейцария, Украина
За 7-10 места - подробнее
Швейцария, Швеция, Австрия, Украина
1/4 финала - подробнее
Финляндия - Россия
Словакия - Чехия
1/2 финала - подробнее
Канада - Чехия
США - Финляндия
Финал - подробнее
За 5 место. Россия - Словакия
За 3 место. Финляндия - Чехия
За 1 место. Канада - США
Страничка статистики

Молодежные чемпионаты мира (до 20 лет) 2004 года.