The former Fairport resident wins gold as part of Team USA at the World Juniors Championship. Bardreau returned to Cornell to kick off the second half of the college season.
Many college students use the winter break to unwind following a tough fall semester.
Former Fairport resident Cole Bardreau took the exact opposite approach. Bardreau flew to the other side of the world to Russia to compete against the best junior hockey players in the hopes of winning a championship for his home country.
After seeing what happened on the world’s biggest stage, it’s hard to argue with his decision.
Bardreau won a gold medal with Team USA as they defeated Team Sweden 3-1 at the IIHF World Junior Championships. Bardreau, who played on the Fairport ice hockey team until his sophomore season, went back to Cornell this week as the Big Red begin the second half of their schedule.
“It was awesome,” Bardreau said about his experience at the World Juniors. “It was the last time I was going to wear the Team USA sweater, so I wanted to do something special. It was kind of a grind, but I got to play with a great group of guys. They helped make this special.”
Bardreau finished with one goal and two assists in seven games with Team USA, but his impact with team wasn’t just felt on the ice. The forward was named an assistant captain and his leadership showed throughout the tournament.
Bardreau sacrificed his scoring numbers to play on the penalty kill unit and had the assignment of shutting down the opposing team’s top players.
Bardreau has become an internet sensation for his postgame interviews with his teammates on the ice following the gold medal game. Don’t expect him to change majors from business to communications.
“For the whole team, winning a medal was our priority,” Bardreau. “We wanted to make a statement that Team USA was a top competitor. Winning a gold medal was the most important thing to all of us.”
Bardreau made history becoming the first player from the Rochester area to win a medal at the World Junior Championships. Six players, including current NHL players Ryan Callahan and Brian Gionta, came home without a medal.
“It was something that I took a lot of pride in,” Bardreau said. “I was pretty surprised, and it meant a lot to me that the guys looked up to me. It was something I will never forget.”
Bardreau will look to take this experience and improve in his second season with Cornell. After seeing limited action his freshman season he has played in 11 of 15 of the Big Red’s games this winter, recording a goal and four assists.
“He’s the kind of player that combines great grittiness with a high skill level, which means he’s able to play in all situations,” said Mike Schafer, Cornell head coach.
Page 2 of 2 - “His off-ice personality really contributes to that, too. He’s always got great enthusiasm, excitement and passion, and he’s a great teammate. When you have those kinds of characteristics off the ice, they really carry onto the ice as well.”