TRURO, N.S. – Even after a gut-wrenching defeat, PJ Moore found it in himself to make someone else’s day.
Moore, captain of Team Canada at last week’s World Ball Hockey Federation championship in Moscow, had just finished playing in an emotional gold-medal game against the Czech Republic. It didn’t go Canada’s way – the Czechs won 3-2. And Moore and his teammates were furious with the way it went down, feeling one-sided officiating cost them a chance to win the big prize.
Following the contest, outside the Canadian dressing room, a young Russian boy stood looking to collect on a promise made to him earlier in the week.
Moore ran into the boy a few times during the tournament and each time the kid would hound him for equipment – a stick, a hat, a jersey. Each time, Moore gave him the same answer, agreeing to part with the gear following the tournament.
True to his word, Moore returned from the dressing room after the final game and handed the boy two sticks and a hat, gaining a new fan and a new friend in the process.
“He lit up like a Christmas tree when I handed him those two sticks,” said Moore, 28, from Truro. “One was taped and one was not and he wanted me to sign it. I said it’s not worth much if I sign it, but I’ll do it for you anyway.”
Moore also had his picture taken with the boy, which the young fella shared on Instagram. The boy said he was going to hang the sticks on his bedroom wall.
“He was pretty excited,” Moore said.
Moore and his teammates went through the round-robin portion of the tournament with a 4-0 record before falling to the Czechs in the final. Moore said the odds were stacked against his team from the start, as two referees from the Czech Republic officiated the game. He said Canada was assessed more than 100 minutes in penalties, compared to just 30 to 40 for their counterparts.
“I hate blaming it on the referees but watching the game again you can see that no matter what you did, you were getting called,” said Moore, who was named Team Canada’s player of the game in the final.
“We were the better team, there’s no two ways about that … but we went to a gunfight with knives. There was no way possible we could win that.”
It was Moore’s fourth time representing Canada at a world ball hockey championship. He won gold on all three previous occasions.
Making the event special this time was the fact Moore was named captain of the team, and that he got to share the experience with good friend Steve Lindsay. Lindsay, athletic therapist for the Truro Bearcats junior a hockey team, was Team Canada’s trainer.
“I’ve known Steve all my life, so it was pretty special,” said Moore. “I just wish we could have gotten the ring for him. It was pretty cool to have him there.”
With a younger generation of players coming up through the national program, Moore isn’t sure how many more invites he’ll receive to represent his country. However, he would like to get another shot.
“I want redemption at it,” he said. “I want another chance to bring back gold.”