KELOWNA, BC - In a press conference in Calgary, Alta. hosted by Hockey Canada, CEO Tom Renney, unveiled the plan for the 2017-18 Canada's National Men's Team that will look to defend their Olympic Gold medal from Sochi in 2014 at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea this February.
The national hockey team will include Jeff Thorburn as one of their two therapists.Thorburn has been the head athletic therapist for the UBC Okanagan Heat since 2013 after seven years with the Kelowna Rockets.
Thorburn was genuinely surprised when the call came to join the National Team. He felt very privileged to have the chance to train the team and to attend a Winter Olympics representing his country.
"I am truly honored to have been selected to join Team Canada for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games. It is always a special honor to be involved with a national team, and to be able to support and help the team towards our Olympic goal is incredibly exciting."
"The management group has assembled an excellent coaching staff and an excellent support staff, so I am very much looking forward to working with them."
It was during Thorburn's time with the Kelowna Rockets where he was first introduced to Hockey Canada. Those impressions and connections were lasting because Hockey Canada came calling years later to fill the role for the national team heading to the Olympics.
"I would like to thank Hockey Canada for this tremendous opportunity," continued Thorburn. "Having been on the outside of the hockey scene for the last few years, this was somewhat unexpected but I couldn't be more excited to be involved with this team and these games."
"I would also like to thank the Kelowna Rockets Hockey Club as they had the confidence in me to connect me with Hockey Canada many years ago."
The offer is one thing, but being able to move a schedule around and miss that much time with one's family and work was something to consider. Everyone that he approached was encouraging and supportive of the opportunity. Ever the professional, Thorburn is very thankful to his family and UBC Okanagan administration for their endorsement and support allowing him to take on the job.
"My wife will be more than busy with our three kids as I get into this venture, but she was only understanding and encouraging when the opportunity presented itself. I am thankful to my family for being so supportive and excited."
"I would also like to pay thanks for the great support from UBC Okanagan, our Athletic Director and staff. Without their understanding and backing, this would not be possible."
Thorburn will utilize this opportunity to learn and further his skill and understanding of the many facets of athletic therapy, and bring those experiences and skills back to UBC Okanagan. "Although we will be very busy and dedicated to the task at hand, I am also eager to experience the Games as a whole. To be a part of the largest winter sporting event in the world and really, the largest multi-cultural event in the world as well is such a fantastic opportunity."
"From a professional development perspective; to see the organization and set-up for a major games, to be able to work with such an experienced staff, and to associate and connect with therapists and experts from around the globe is truly invaluable."
"I am very grateful, thankful and tremendously excited to be a part of this great event."
The Olympic journey begins for the athletic therapist immediately as he joins the team in just over a week in Sochi, Russia as Team Canada competes in the Sochi Hockey Open, and the Tournament of Nikolai Puchkov in St. Petersburg, Aug. 14-17.
Coverage and results of the full 2017-18 Canada's National Men's Team schedule will be available at HockeyCanada.ca.