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Kleiboer Brings Home the Gold

by Janine Hayward

Levi Kleiboer of Martensville earned a spot on the 2017 Canada West Junior Hockey Team in a defenceman role. Kleiboer and his Canadian teammates defeated the USA in the final at the World Junior A Challenge in Truro, Nova Scotia to become gold medalists. The team had a slow start losing their first two games but came on strong to face the USA in the final. This was a rematch of Tuesday’s game as Team US took the narrow 2-1 victory over Canada. Team Canada played hard in the final and took the 5-1 win over the US when it counted to bring home the gold. Team USA were looking to repeat as they were tournament winners last year in Bonneyville, Alberta. Canada West were the spoilers as they brought home the gold for 2017.

Kleiboer, a 19 year old from Martensville, is playing in the SJHL for the Battleford NorthStars. Levi played his minor hockey career in Martensville and is in his third year with the Stars. He was invited to the camp last year as well, but impressed Team Canada West’s coach, Mike Reagan from the Flin Flon Bombers at this year’s camp in Calgary December 2. Kleiboer was one of the 60 players who were invited to the camp with only nine SJHL players invited. He was named to Team Canada West as a defenceman. Kleiboer earned an assist in the final as he set up Brendan Budy at 9:06 of the first period for the first goal of the game. Team USA could only find the net once as Canada West held the lead the whole game with the 5-1 victory.

Kleiboer was honoured to be chosen to represent Canada. “I have always watched Team Canada at the Olympics and World Juniors and was excited to see them win so it was surreal to wear the Maple Leaf,” commented Kleiboer. “Winning gold was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life and was a great feeling. To top it off, it was over the United States in our home country and the fans were electric.” Next season Kleiboer plans to pursue his scholarship at the University of Maine Black Bears NCAA Division One. Congratulations to Levi Kleiboer and the gold medalists, Team Canada.

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