WHITEHORSE - The first Yukon teen ever to play for Canada's world junior hockey team received a boisterous welcome as he returned to the territory early Tuesday.
Dylan Cozens, who scored Canada's first goal in a 4-3 gold-medal victory over Russia, was greeted by family and friends as he arrived in Whitehorse after a 30-hour journey from the Czech Republic.
Yukon's Community Services Minister John Streicker was among those there, and says the territory is making plans to recognize the 18-year-old centre more formally at a later date.
Cozens says it was "pretty cool" to receive the enthusiastic welcome and he's looking forward to a week off before returning to his junior club, the Lethbridge Hurricanes.
He told the gathering at the airport that he's not leaving the house for the next few days.
Cozens became the first from the territory to be selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft when he was taken seventh overall by the Buffalo Sabres in June 2019.
He says it was great to represent Canada and Yukon on such a big stage.
"It's something I've always wanted to do my whole life, so now that I've gotten to do it and got to win gold and represent my country is unreal,'' he said.
"Seeing people come all the way from the Yukon to support me was awesome.''
Cozens' achievements have been enthusiastically embraced across Yukon.
The mayor of Whitehorse began last night's council meeting by thanking Cozens for making the city, territory, and country proud, while both Premier Sandy Silver and Yukon senator Pat Duncan tweeted their congratulations, with Duncan honouring Cozens' "composure, skill, and work ethic."
The Canadian Press