After being a part of Canada’s silver medal team in the 2018 Spengler Cup, Adam Cracknell wasn’t sure if he would get the opportunity to wear the maple leaf again in international play.
Now, he can add ‘Olympian’ to his already stacked resume.
“A lot of things that have happened in the past have led up to this moment,” the 36 year old member of the Bakersfield Condors said in a media zoom meeting held by Team Canada. “Going (to Beijing) for the Olympics will be special, because it’s a place I’ve played at before.”
Cracknell signed a one year contract in 2019 with the Kunlun Red Star—the only Chinese team in the KHL—but the season was cut short amid the surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. He laughed as he embraced the title as the team’s tour guide.
“I know where the cheesecake factory is and the grocery store, so I’m good to go,” he said.
After being selected in the ninth round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the Calgary Flames, Cracknell has been all over the radar in his hockey career. He didn’t dress up in an NHL game until 2010, when he played in 24 games with the St. Louis Blues.
He’s played for 21 different hockey teams in his pro career, but Cracknell has found a home in Bakersfield, where he currently serves as an alternate captain for the Condors. Being named to an Olympic team this late into his career is a dream come true.
“We all grow up watching the World Juniors and Olympics as a Canadian kid, he said. “To wear the jersey now, even if it’s only in practice right now, it means so much. Everyone back home reaches out. It’s a huge honour to wear the maple leaf. Hockey is our life, and we know what it means to represent our country.
“This is an opportunity that a lot of us probably thought we would never get. I’m looking forward to wearing that jersey, being a part of the Olympics, and giving it my best effort to go for gold. This is something that I will never forget.”
After the NHL decided not to send their players to the Olympics, the door opened for players like Cracknell to make the team. He said he didn’t ever expect to have a chance to represent Canada on an international stage again.
“Who would’ve thought something like this would have happened,” he said. “I’m just happy playing hockey. I love the game, I love the life that it’s given me. I’ve played this long just because I love it. To play for Team Canada at the Olympics is just a great milestone for myself. I’m looking forward to getting started, and it’s something that I can look back on for the rest of my life because it’s going to be an amazing experience.”
Cracknell is the only Saskatchewan-born player on Team Canada’s roster.