Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Prospect Teravainen feeling like superhero
By Scott Powers
There's Superman. There's Batman. Then there's Teuvo Teravainen.
An exhausted 19-year-old Teravainen compared his experiences of leading Finland to a gold medal in the World Junior Championship on Sunday and the two whirlwind days of celebration that followed to something normally only seen in comic books and movies.
Hawks prospect Teuvo Teravainen led Finland to a gold medal in the World Junior Championship on Sunday.
"It feels like we're superheroes now," Teravainen said in a phone interview from Finland on Wednesday.
The party began when Finland knocked off Sweden 3-2 in the World Junior Championship gold medal game on Sunday. It continued as the team flew home and Teravainen, the team's captain and star performer, was invited to sit in the plane's cockpit for the flight's final 30 minutes.
"There were a lot of people waiting for us at the airport," Teravainen said. "We had to meet with the media afterward and then they had limos for us. They brought us to the city for a fan party. There was a stage and a Finnish music artist. There were a lot of people there. That was really fun.
"After that, there was another party with our team. It was a crazy night. [Winning the gold], that's a dream of every young hockey player. That's my biggest achievement so far, I think."
Teravainen has been on the hockey map for a few years now as he excelled at an early age in Finland and was drafted in the first round at the age of 17 by the Chicago Blackhawks, but he never felt his stardom was as large as when he returned from the World Junior Championship.
"It's been a couple crazy days," Teravainen said. "Everyone recognizes me now."
Teravainen attracted the attention by leading all players with 15 points in seven games in the World Junior Championship and stepping up in the team's biggest games. He had two goals and an assist in Finland's 5-1 win over Canada in the semifinals and had an assist on all three of Finland's goals against Sweden in the final.
Teravainen couldn't say exactly why he emerged in those two games, but he had a theory.
"Maybe if there is a big game, semifinal or something, we just need to win, maybe I'm putting everything on the ice," Teravainen said. "I feel like I need to help my team. Maybe that's what it is."
As good as Teravainen feels about his play after the tournament, he is just as disappointed about how he has been playing so far for Jokerit in the Liiga this season. He has 17 points in 29 games for Jokerit. Teravainen went into the World Junior Championship looking to prove himself.
Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman believes he accomplished that.
"Obviously Teuvo had a great tournament, was one of the most dynamic players there," Bowman said on Tuesday. "We talked to him when he left camp. His goal was to be a different player at the World Juniors and what a way to cap it with a gold medal. Really happy with him."
Teravainen wasn't sure about his future for the rest of 2014. There's a possibility he could go to the Blackhawks in April after his season in Finland or play for Finland in the World Championships in Belarus in May. If he doesn't join the Blackhawks this season, he's expected to do so next season.
"I think I'm going to have a great season now in Finland," Teravainen said. "That's my biggest thing right now. After that, we'll see. My goal next year, of course, is Chicago. We'll see if I'm coming over this season or next season. We'll see what happen afters [the Liiga] season."