Regina, Sask – Regina Pats star forward Tanner Howe helped Canada to it’s 23rd gold medal at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup with a 4-1 victory over Sweden on Saturday.
“Words don’t even describe the feeling you get when that buzzer sounds and you win gold, it was crazy,” Tanner Howe said.
The Prince Albert, Sask. product produced four points (2G-2A) in five contests for Canada, scoring goals against Sweden and Slovakia. His final tally was his biggest, as he gave Canada a 1-0 lead in the gold medal game.
“It was a noisy game and on the first shift our line got the puck in deep and had a great forecheck. They got the puck out in front to me so kinda a lucky goal by me but I’ll take it,” Howe said on his goal against Sweden.
His second goal came on August 2, when he scored a brilliant marker after digging up the puck down low.
“It was obviously good,” he added. “I kinda just got the puck behind the net and I used my feet to kick it out and I tried to get it up as quick as I could. The goalie was down so I’m glad it went in to help us out.”
The 5-foot-9, 178 lb. winger completed his rookie season with the Pats in 2021-22, leading all Pats rookies in goals (27), assists (42), points (69), power play goals (11), power play assists (16) and short-handed goals (2). He also finished fourth in WHL rookie scoring and tied for third in assists.
Following the regular season coming to a close, he jumped on a plane to Germany where represented Canada at the 2022 IIHF U18 World Championship, appearing in four contests before Canada unfortunately fell short in the quarter-finals.
“It wasn’t the outcome we wanted when we went to Germany for the U18 World Championship in the spring, so coming here we felt we could win it. Knowing we lost the last one, it felt really good to win this one.”
Prior to last season, the Pats 2020 fourth-round pick wasn’t on Hockey Canada’s radar, as the 16-year-old forward who turns 17 on November 28, 2022 wasn’t originally named to the U17 Capital City Challenge in Ottawa, ON, joining the roster moments before the tournament began as an injury replacement. He then recorded four points (3G-1A) in five games, helping Canada Black to the championship.
“Last year I had a slow start and then I got it going so I think that brought some attention,” he said. “Going to the U17 Capital City Challenge was huge, as it helped get my name out there a bit. That helped in my development but after not making playoffs, I got to go to Germany so that was exciting. That was a great experience for me but getting to go to the Hlinka Gretzky Cup and winning gold was just amazing.”
Overall, Howe enjoyed his experience in Red Deer, Alta. playing alongside a lot of familiar faces with a large amount of players from Saskatchewan and the WHL, who he was very familiar with, and even knew on a personal level.
“There were a lot of Dub [WHL] guys,” he explained. “Obviously growing up with Brayden Yager [from Saskatoon] and me being from Prince Albert, I played with him and have skated with all the Saskatoon guys, so I knew a bunch of those guys. But it was cool to meet all the QMJHL and OHL guys, too. It was just an awesome experience as it’s such an honor to represent your country, winning gold and doing it with your teammates. I couldn’t be happier. It’s a crazy feeling.”
Howe also added that he took a lot away from playing against different countries and the team building that Hockey Canada did.
“It was awesome being able to play against those teams,” he said. “They have a lot of skill so it was pretty cool. We also did a lot of team building. We all came together so good and that’s a big reason to why we won.”
Outside of his goals of helping the Pats reach the playoffs for the first time since 2018, Howe says he has his eyes set on hopefully getting a camp invitation next year to the 2024 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
“The U18’s is just the start,” he said. “Getting your foot in the door with Hockey Canada is great, so I hope I can have a good season this year and hopefully get a chance to go to camp next year.”