“What I remember most about the win was a player named Gord Sherven, who’d brought a bottle of champagne into the dressing room to celebrate the win – and then fumbled with the foil and the cork, as if he wasn't used to celebrating such unexpected victories."
- Eric Duhatshek, on Canada's upset victory at the 1987 Izvestia Cup tournament in Moscow.
Weyburn, Saskatchewan's Gord Sherven had dreams of playing with Wayne Gretzky's Edmonton Oilers. But he also had some international dreams. He had more success with the latter rather than the former.
Sherven was drafted by the Oilers in 1981. The following season he enrolled in the University of North Dakota where he studied business administration and education, as well as starring on the right wing. By 1982 he and the likes of James Patrick, Dave Tippett, Darren Jensen and Jon Casey led the Fighting Sioux to a NCAA title.
In the 1983 season he took leaves from his schooling to play for Canada at both the World Junior Championships (winning bronze) and the World Championships. His love for the international game was born.
The following year he would actually leave the University after 10 games to pursue an Olympic gold medal. But things did not work out so well for Sherven. After 49 games with the national team, a knee injury prevented him from being part of Canada's Olympic efforts in Sarajevo.
No problem, right? Gretzky's Oilers were destined to win a few more Stanley Cups. Sherven made the team the following season, and even scored 9 goals and 16 points in the first half of his rookie season. And while the Oilers did go on to win the Stanley Cup again that spring, they somehow managed to find a way to do it without Sherven. The Oilers traded him to Minnesota in a package for veteran Mark Napier.
Sherven, who returned to classes every summer to complete his undergraduate degree, never caught on in Minnesota. he was briefly reacquired by the Oilers before a short stint with Hartford. But his career in North American pro hockey was essentially all but complete by 1987.
Sherven went on to a lengthy international career, which included club team play with many teams in Germany through to the end of the century. Three times he celebrated championships in the German league, including 1989 (Rosenheim), 1994 (Munich); 1996 (Dusseldorf). But it was his chance to play with Dave King's old Canadian national team that he is best remembered for. He finally achieved his dream of playing in the Olympics in 1988 in Calgary. He scored 4 goals and 8 points in 8 Olympic games, but Canada placed fourth in the tournament.
After retiring Sherven returned to Calgary where he became active with Hockey Canada and, oddly, the Calgary Flames alumni association even though he never played for the Flames.