SURREY — Luka Burzan’s trip to Norway had a silver lining.
The Surrey hockey player, 16, returned home from the Youth Olympic Winter Games with a silver medal he earned as a member of Team Canada.
In Lillehammer, the squad lost 5-2 to the U.S. in Sunday’s final.
“Obviously it wasn’t the medal we wanted but it was still a great experience, something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” said Burzan, who led the tournament in points with four goals and three assists in Team Canada’s six games.
Burzan, who lives in the Guildford area, is a high-scoring forward with the Valley West Hawks, currently tops in the 11-team B.C. Major Midget League (BCMML) with playoffs set to begin next week. The league allows teens aged 15 to 17 to play high-level hockey close to home; the Hawks’ roster is filled with players from Cloverdale, Delta, Semiahmoo and Surrey.
Burzan, the sixth-overall pick of the Moose Jaw Warriors in the 2015 WHL draft, was told in mid-January that he’d made Team Canada’s roster in Lillehammer.
“When I heard I was going to play for my country, it was one of the best feelings I ever had,” he told the Now on Monday. “Representing my country, there’s no better feeling.”
Burzan was named HockeyNow magazine’s 2015 B.C. Minor Hockey Player of the Year after scoring 84 goals and adding 57 assists in 67 games with North Shore Winter Club Winterhawks.
In Lillehammer, he was one of just two B.C. players on Team Canada, along with Tristen Nielsen of Fort St. John.
At the airport waiting to leave Norway, Burzan met and posed for photos with fellow Surrey resident Tyler Tardi (left), a gold-medalist curler at the Games. In the final, played Feb. 17, Team Canada capped an unbeaten run through the tournament’s mixed curling competition with a 10-4 win over the U.S.
“Representing Canada at the Youth Olympics, it’s an unbelievable feeling. I don’t know what to say about it, it’s just an incredible feeling,” Tardi, who lives in Cloverdale, told Curling Canada.
The 2016 Youth Olympics team was determined based on applications from all age-eligible players in Canada, with a special focus on participants in the 2015 Canada Winter Games last February in Prince George, B.C., where Fay and Burgess won silver, representing Nova Scotia, and Tardi and Middleton won bronze as Team B.C.