Buffaloes blueliner Zak Green learns from dad's visit to national championship

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Zak Green was privy to inside information about the Telus Cup long before the Calgary Under-18 AAA Buffaloes earned an invitation to the national championship.

Thanks, Dad, for your on-ice war stories, says Green.

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“My whole life I’ve been brought up on stories like this from my dad’s time with the Buffaloes,” said Green, whose father, Cory, knows first-hand the experience of the Hockey Canada’s Men’s U18 National Club Championship. “He always talked about going to the tournament and what it means.

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“So it’s a full-circle moment being able to experience it myself.”

And experience it he has — to the fullest so far, with the Buffs just two wins away from capturing the coveted crown in Membertou, N.S.

The first must come Saturday in the event’s semifinals, as the top-four teams square off in two games to decide the finalists for Sunday’s gold-medal game (2 p.m. MT, TSN).

Green, a blueliner, and the Pacific Region-champion Buffaloes (3-0-1-1) line up against the Western-winning Brandon Wheat Kings (3-0-2-0) at the Membertou Sport & Wellness Centre.

The other semi pits the unbeaten Cantonniers de Magog (5-0) — the Quebec kings — against the Central-champ Markham Waxers (2-1-2-0), of Ontario.

Those games are both live-streamed by Hockey Canada at 11 a.m. MT and 3 p.m. MT.

“Just enjoy the moment,” said Green, when asked of the advice his dad gave to him about the tourney. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Just take it all in, and enjoy the moment.”

When asked what year that was that saw his father carry the Calgary colours, Green himself wasn’t exactly sure.

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“Sometime in the ’80s,” he said with a smile. “That’s all I know.”

It was the 1987 championship — then called the Air Canada Cup — in Gloucester, Ont., which is now part of Ottawa.

Quebec’s Riverains du Richelieu defeated Saskatchewan’s Notre Dame Hounds for the banner, while the Buffaloes finished third.

The younger Green and his Alberta-champion teammates intend to do better this time around.

They want gold, just as the 1989 edition of the Buffs dug up in St. John’s, N.L., for the association’s only other national title.

“Just keep going do your job,” Green said. “And we’ll be fine.”

On Friday, the Buffaloes wrapped up the round-robin portion of the event with a 4-0 loss at the hands of the perfect Quebec kingpins. But the result meant nothing to the standings.

Colten Scott got the goaltending start, making 27 saves between the pipes for the Buffs.

“Yeah … kept it simple,” added Buffaloes head coach Brent Harrison, who wasn’t concerned with the contest. “We weren’t going to tire out our horses in that game.”

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