Todd Hlushko played 79 games in the National Hockey League with Calgary, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh but it was his time as an Olympian where he had his greatest moment.
After a successful junior career with the hometown Guelph Platers, Owen Sound and London, he was drafted by the Washington Capitals. After two successful years in the minors he decided to try out for Canada’s National Team. It was the best decision he would ever make in hockey.
He played the next two seasons in a Canadian sweater and the Guelph native would represent Canada at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.
“I played on a line with Fabian Joseph and Greg Parks and we were the team’s shutdown line,” said Hlushko. “When we played the Swedes we were against Peter Forsberg and Mats Naslund and against Finland it was Saku Koivu and Jere Lehtinen, but at the Olympics we caught fire offensively too.”
Hlushko emerged as a hero for Canada. He tied Petr Nedved for the goal scoring lead with five and scored a huge goal in the semi-final that launched Canada into the gold medal match against Sweden.
“The Finns were undefeated and held a 2-0 lead in the second period” Hlushko explains. ‘We knew if we went into the third down by two they would be tough to beat. Midway through the second, there was a turnover and I just took off. I had a breakaway from the blue line in and scored.”
Canada would go on to score two more goals that period and ultimately win 5-3 setting up the gold medal game where Forsberg scored his famous shootout goal on Corey Hirsch leaving Canada with a hard earned silver medal. Hlushko later won a bronze with Canada at the World Hockey Championships and had a successful professional career in Europe.
Hlushko was also a great baseball player. He pitched and played shortstop helping the Guelph Pro-Joy Junior Royals win their first Intercounty championship in 35 years in 1989. He would go on to be named the Rookie of the Year and make the first all-star team with the senior Intercounty Royals, winning the league batting title with a .415 average. He helped the Royals win the senior title in 1993.
Inducted into the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame – Athlete category – on October 23, 2013