With the festive season in full swing, Hudson Elynuik helped give his dad a unique holiday gift - the title of TSN.ca's Top Canadian World Junior Player as voted on Twitter.
On the occasion of the 40th World Junior Hockey Championship, TSN.ca asked users to name their choice for the greatest Canadian player based on his achievement and impact in the tournament - and Hudson's Rory Fitzpatrick-reminiscent social media campaign worked with Pat Elynuik leading the list when the final totals were tallied.
"I was surprised and didn't know it was happening," the elder Elynuik said of the digital initiative. "(Hudson) did it under the radar so when we found out how it turned out, it was a shock. But it certainly brought us back to thinking and reflecting on the World Juniors."
And Hudson didn't have to look far for inspiration, witnessing the excitement of the tournament first-hand last December as his family got first-class treatment as guests at the event in Calgary.
"We had the opportunity to take them to the World Juniors last year," said Elynuik. "Hockey Canada did a great job bringing the alumni together and Hudson certainly picked up on the enthusiasm and passion that Canadians have for the juniors. So when he saw the initiative on TSN.ca, he tried to get as many friends and followers as he could on board - and he succeeded."
Elynuik, who edged out 1995 World Junior star Marty Murray in voting, entered the 1987 World Juniors with plenty of fanfare. He was a scoring star with the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League and was drafted eighth overall by the Winnipeg Jets after scoring 53 goals and 106 points in the 1985-86 season.
He also helped the Raiders win the Memorial Cup, beating the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds. But for Elynuik, the World Junior tournament was something special in its own right. "It's every boy's dream and passion to try and make that team some day," he told TSN.ca.
Elynuik's lone appearance at the World Juniors was arguably the most memorable given the fact that it was the 1987 tournament in Piestany, Czechoslovakia. Depending on who you talk to, the infamous Canada-Russia punch up that saw both teams disqualified was either Canada's best or worst moment at the World Juniors.
"We were young and developing hockey players and you can't change the past," said Elynuik, who led Canada in scoring with six goals and 11 points in six games. "I used it as a learning experience on how you deal with things changing at the blink of an eye. The situation was we were in position to win a medal and Russia didn't have a very successful tournament as they were mathematically eliminated before the game. We had everything to gain and they had nothing to lose. It got very edgy and chippy and before you knew it, there was a scrum in the corner and they were all on the ice. The first thing that came to my mind was protecting my teammates and making sure no one was outnumbered and it got to a point where you couldn't control it."
Elynuik would go on to have a lengthy NHL career, scoring 154 goals and 342 points in 506 games with the Jets, Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators.
And while individual and team honours weren't prominent, the title of TSN.ca's Top World Junior Player is certainly something he and his family will look back on with some fondness.
"We're going to remember this for a long time," he said with a chuckle.
The Top 10 players on TSN.ca's Team Canada's Greatest Junior Players list are as follows:
1. Pat Elynuik, F (1987)
2. Marty Murray, F (1994, 1995)
3. Jordan Eberle, F (2009, 2010)
4. Ryan Johansen, F (2011)
5. Ryan Ellis, D (2009, 2010, 2011)
6. Jonathan Toews, F (2006, 2007)
7. Carey Price, G (2007)
8. Anthony Stewart, F (2004, 2005)
T10. Eric Lindros, F (1990, 1991, 1992)
T10. Brayden Schenn, F (2010, 2011)