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September 30, 2003 - Three Red Wings get World Championship rings
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Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Three Red Wings get world championship rings

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DETROIT -- The Red Wings held a little medals ceremony Monday in their locker room at Joe Louis Arena on Monday.

Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby and defenseman Mathieu Dandenault, members of Canada's gold-medal-winning team at the world championships in May, were presented with their championship rings by Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill.

Sure, it would have been nicer if the whole team was receiving Stanley Cup rings, but that didn't diminish the roles played by Draper, Maltby and Dandenault in Team Canada's championship run. The Canadians defeated Sweden in the gold-medal game in Helsinki, Finland.

"They were a big part of that team," Nill said. "They played great hockey."

Draper said representing his country and winning a gold medal helped ease the pain of the Wings' hasty first-round exit in the playoffs.

"Any time you can win, it's a highlight," Draper said. "Obviously, it was a disappointment with the way our season ended. But to get a call from your country and three weeks later you're a champion again, it's neat. A lot of guys (on the Canadian team) hadn't won a Stanley Cup.

"We had a lot of support over there. The Canadian fans were following us. It was just a tremendous experience."

Dandenault enjoyed being teammates with players who are usually on the other side of the ice in an NHL game.

"It was a great time, especially meeting these guys that you usually play against," Dandenault said. "You see how they work and go about preparing. It was a great time, it really was. I learned a lot. It was my first time overseas. Just winning a gold for Canada, which hadn't won in six years, it was unbelievable."

"It was a great experience," Maltby said. "Going over there, winning a gold medal, it was something I won't forget."