Much like a player, a coach learns from a difficult loss as well and that’s how Tim Hunter is looking at his opportunity to coach the Canadian National Junior Team.
"It was just a great experience right from the start," he said. "I learned a ton about player evaluation, learned a ton about short term tournaments, a ton about the people involved and myself including, and it was a great growing experience."
The Hunter-led Canadians suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Finland in the quarterfinals last week. It was the first time that Canada failed to medal at a World Juniors hosted on Canadian soil.
Hunter said looking back at that game, the bounces just didn't go their way in the end, "You look at the scoring chances, they were fairly even, we out-chanced them 5-on-5 and their only scoring chance in the third period was a goal that really wasn't even a scoring chance," he said.
"We carried the play in the third period, we played really well in the third period and it was just one of those breaks."
Coaching Canada's top junior players brings with it a lot of pressure. Hunter said that he savours the opportunity to coach in those situations because it makes you a better coach.
"I don't look at it as pressure, I just look at it as an opportunity and that's what you want as a coach, the opportunity to coach in the big games, big moments and big tournaments," he said. "It's a privilege to be given that opportunity to coach in that environment."
Hunter will return to the Moose Jaw Warriors' bench when the team takes on the Calgary Hitmen at Mosaic Place on Wednesday night.
The Warriors posted a 6-2-1-0 record during Hunter's month away with Team Canada.
"I watched a little bit of the games online when I could and really just let the team be in the hands of Mark [O'Leary], Scott [King] and Al Millar and let them run it the way that they saw fit, no use me getting involved from afar, those guys did a great job again this year," said Hunter.
Hunter will be thrown right back into the fire with the Warriors as they host Calgary on Wednesday and then Seattle and Brandon come to Mosaic Place on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
The team will then head out on the road for a seven-game road trip to the B.C. and Central divisions to end the month.
"We need to get some wins here while we can and then get on the road, I'm really excited to get back on the road again after being on the road for 30 days," Hunter said jokingly. "It will be good for the team to get on the road, build some team unite, bond together before we get ready for the playoffs."