Significance of unexpected Olympic opportunity not lost on Canada's men's hockey team_freckle removal cream korea

Significance of unexpected Olympic opportunity not lost on Canada's men's hockey teamPlaying in Cologne, Germany, Landon Ferraro had given up on his childhood dream of playing for Canada at the Olympics. But at age 30, he's on the verge of doing just that as a member of Team Canada at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.

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'I didn't think this was even an opportunity that was going to be there' says Landon Ferraro

Vicki Hall · for CBC Sports(Pavel Golovkin/The Associated Press)

Landon Ferraro originally intended on following the path blazed by his father Ray and enjoying a long, successful career in the National Hockey League just like his old man.

Like for so many of us, the game plan in Landon's head failed to pan out. A rash of lower-body injuries limited the 2009 second-round (32nd overall) draft pick to just 77 career NHL appearances with Detroit, Boston and Minnesota.

Now playing in Cologne, Germany, Landon had given up on his childhood dream of playing for Canada at the Olympics. But at age 30, he's on the verge of doing just that as a member of Team Canada at the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.

One door closes, another opens.

Life carries on.

"I didn't think this was even an opportunity that was going to be there," said Ferraro, who was born in Trail, B.C., but got his start playing hockey in Atlanta where his dad suited up for the Thrashers. "It's going to mean so much.

"I've had a ton of injuries, and I didn't know if I'd be able to keep playing anymore. I kind of put in all the work and saw all the doctors and got everything figured out to where the body feels pretty good."

WATCH | Getting to know Canada's Olympic men's ice hockey team: 

Getting to know Canada's Men's Olympic hockey team

15 days agoDuration 3:19Rob Pizzo breaks down the roster that will wear the maple leaf in Beijing.(Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

In Beijing, Desharnais is one of the veterans tasked with chipping in offensively for Team Canada.

"My whole career, it's been about perseverance," Desharnais says. "It's just another chapter if I can say that. If I would have quit last year, I wouldn't have had the opportunity."

Desharnais understands the magnitude of the opportunity, especially given that NHL superstars like Steven Stamkos will likely never represent Canada on the Olympic stage.

"It's unfortunate the NHL guys can't go," Desharnais says. "But it gives other guys the chance.

"And here I am."

Potential bragging rights for Ferraro

Post-Beijing, Landon Ferraro is looking forward to having rare bragging rights over his dad, now a hockey analyst with ESPN and TSN. For while Ray Ferraro had a wildly successful NHL career, he never played in the Olympics.
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Over the next 10 days or so, father and son will talk hockey from opposite sides of the world as Landon gets set for what will undoubtedly be a career highlight.

"It's just something that's brought me and my dad closer and closer," Landon said. "Any question I've had, he's always been able to answer and kind of give me some insight. Goes off the rails a little bit if it gets onto the PK or blocking shots.

"He avoided that at all costs."

After opening the tournament at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday against Germany, Canada is scheduled to face the U.S. at 11:10 p.m. ET Friday before closing out round-robin play in Group A against China at 8:10 a.m. Sunday.

The gold-medal game is slated for 11:10 p.m. ET on Feb 19 at the National Indoor Stadium.

All competitions will be streamed live on CBC Gem, the CBC Sports app and CBC Sports' Beijing 2022 website.

WATCH | CBC Sports Explains: Men's Olympic ice hockey:

CBC Sports Explains: Men's Olympic ice hockey

16 days agoDuration 9:39Did you know that the first time ice hockey ever appeared at the Olympics was during the Summer Games? Or that in the 1950s, for a brief period, the sport was dropped from the Olympics? This episode of CBC Sports Explains takes you through the history of men's ice hockey at the Olympics.Devon Levi not to be counted out in battle for Canada hockey's Olympic crease

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