One American hockey fan was the lucky recipient of a silver medal at the 2018 World Juniors Tournament — and he didn’t play a single game to get it.
While Canada emerged victorious Friday, claiming their second gold medal in four years, it was the actions of Swedish team captain Lias Andersson which captured a lot of public attention.
After being awarded his silver medal, Andersson promptly tossed it into the crowd, where it landed in the hands of Buffalo, N.Y., man Bill Shaflucas.
“I didn’t think he was really going to throw it,” Shaflucas told the 980 CJME Morning Show. “We made eye-contact and it looked like he was going to, but it’s a hockey game, that stuff doesn’t happen.”
What made the moment even more intriguing was that Shaflucas was wearing three hockey jerseys — including a team Sweden one.
Shaflucas said he put the Swedish jersey on to play a prank on his Canadian friends who he was watching the game with.
“As kind of a joke, I wanted to have the Swedish jersey on so when they weren’t paying attention I was going to take my jersey off and be standing behind them in a Swedish jersey just to give them a hard time.”
He said he thinks Andersson just lost his cool after losing the game and didn’t fully mean to toss away the medal.
“I think he’ll learn from it,” Shaflucas said. “We’ve all done stupid things, I threw my stick into the crowd once when I was playing and I didn’t get it back.”
He said he decided to give the medal back to the team after he got a few photos with it.
“What am I going to do with it? People in a year would come over and see it on my desk and be like ‘Oh yeah that’s the medal you didn’t earn.'”
Shaflucas gave the medal to a trainer on team Sweden who will give it back to Andersson.