Watching the World Junior Hockey Championship during the Christmas season is something Dan Savoury looked forward to every year growing up in Port aux Basques.
It was a Christmas tradition shared coast-to-coast as Canadians pencilled in the World Junior Hockey Championships on the must-see list for the festive season.
Savoury, who now lives in Port Williams, N.S., with his wife, Dee, never dreamed that he’d be watching his grandson wearing the Team Canada jersey in world junior tournament.
Drake Batherson, a Cape Breton Screaming Eagles forward taken by the Ottawa Senators in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, is Savoury’s grandson.
Batherson is the son of former pro hockey player, Norm Batherson, a North Sydney native, and Port aux Basques native Deeann Savoury.
The family made the trek to Buffalo, N.Y., to watch the six-foot-one forward pursue his dream of winning a world junior gold medal for Canada.
Batherson made an impact in the tournament opener, scoring the eventual game-winning goal in a 4-2 win over Finland on Boxing Day.
“I’m kind of numb. It’s just awesome,” Dan Savoury said Wednesday. “We’ve just been on cloud nine since he went to the camp and when he made the team we were just over the top really.”
According to the proud poppy, Batherson was born in Fort Wayne and lived there for a couple of months while his dad was playing professional hockey, but then the family moved to Germany where his dad played a handful of pro seasons before moving back to Canada.
Batherson had a great rookie campaign with the Screaming Eagles in 2016, collecting 22 goals and 58 points in 61 games to make him the highest-scoring rookie in the league.
According to his grandfather, the big winger received a late invitation to Team Canada's main selection camp. His grandfather believes a growth spurt where Drake grew six inches over two years really helped get him noticed.
They were so happy when they found out Drake had earned a spot.
Savoury talked to Drake after the big win over Finland.
“He’s just having the time of his life,” he said.