Team USA poses with Hockey Canada ‘can’ after winning world junior gold

Click to play video: 'World Juniors: Team USA poses for gold medal photo next to trash can with Hockey Canada logo on it' World Juniors: Team USA poses for gold medal photo next to trash can with Hockey Canada logo on it
WATCH: Team USA caused some controversy following their 2-0 win over Canada in the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship gold medal game, posing for their championship photo next to a barrel with a Hockey Canada logo taped to it. – Jan 6, 2021

Team USA angered Canadian hockey fans after defeating their hometown team at the world junior championship in Edmonton on Tuesday, when the American players added a barrel with the Hockey Canada logo to their victory photo.

The incident happened after the U.S. defeated Canada 2-0 in the gold medal game at the annual tournament late Tuesday.

Video from the post-game celebration shows several American players sliding a blue barrel over to where the team was posing for photos. A piece of paper with the Hockey Canada logo had been taped to the barrel.

Read more: Health Canada recalls thousands of candles for burning the wrong way

Canadians blew up in anger on social media after TSN’s Ryan Rishaug tweeted that the object might be a “trash can with a Canada logo on it.”

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“If this is true, to me it’s the absolute worst form of disrespect, immaturity and absolute trash, pun intended,” one popular response said. “Disgraceful.”

Rishaug also shared a brief video of the barrel, sparking more outrage. Some called it a “classless” move, while others suggested that “Canadian boys would never do this.”

Team USA players and officials later explained that the object was a barrel, not a trash can, and that the coaches had used it as a motivational tool throughout the tournament. The players had a barrel for each opponent they faced, and would take a selfie with it after defeating the other team.

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“It was motivation for our team to take the tournament one game at a time,” Team USA head coach Nate Leaman tweeted. “The barrel was ours. No disrespect to Canada who is a great team.”

Team officials also shared an internal email that was sent around in December, which explains the history of the barrel. The email included a story about how the French would cross the Sahara Desert by going from one cached barrel of oil to another — basically crossing the desert “one barrel at a time.”

The gold medal-winning Team USA players pose with a barrel after winning the world junior championship on Jan. 5, 2021, in Edmonton. Via TSN/IIHF

“We pretty much had a barrel for each team we were playing,” U.S. forward Trevor Zegras, 19, said after the game. “Each game we just wanted to get to the next barrel. Today was our last barrel. We threw the Canada sign up there, (put) it on the ice and took our picture. It was kind of our thing this tournament.”

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Read more: U.S. wins gold at World Juniors in Edmonton with 2-0 win over Canada

It’s not the first time accusations of unsportsmanlike conduct have been hurled around the tournament, which brings together players under the age of 20.

At last year’s tournament, Canadian captain Barrett Hayton was accused of disrespecting his Russian opponents by refusing to take off his helmet during their anthem. He later apologized for the snub.

Canada won last year’s tournament but will settle for silver following their result against the U.S. on Tuesday.

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