Aulie and Myers give Canada plenty of size Staff

12/27/2008 7:01:13 PM

It's a first for Team Canada defenceman Keith Aulie.

At 6'6, he's generally been identified as the tallest player on his team. But on this year's squad at the World Junior Hockey Championship, he's shorter than his defensive partner who just happens to be 6'7 and a half - Tyler Myers.

"I don't think I've ever had to look up at someone on my own team," said Aulie with a smile. "It's kind of funny looking at how big we are back there."

Rarely has such a defensive tandem brought such a height advantage. Together, they have formed Team Canada's 'Twin Towers' and their size wreaks havoc on their opposing forwards.

"It definitely helps out in different ways," Aulie told TSN on Saturday. "That extra reach for the puck comes in handy against small, shifty forwards. I think European teams coming in here and seeing our size can worry (about our size) a little, but at the same time you still have to be a good player and be able to skate and hold the puck."

In addition to their size, both Aulie and Myers are also good, well-rounded athletes. Aulie won a Saskatchewan provincial high school volleyball championship, while Myers - born in Texas - played basketball, soccer and baseball before falling in love with hockey.

And at this year's World Juniors, the smaller North American ice plays to their size advantage.

Of course, standing tall does bring about a few nicknames. While Aulie has been called 'High Tower' (a reference to the Police Academy movies) by his teammates back in Brandon, Myers is often dubbed 'Big Slim'.

But so far, the Twins Towers reference seems to work for this duo the same way it did for Tim Duncan and David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs, and - who could forget - pro wrestling's infamous tag-team duo of Big Bossman and Akeem from the 1980's.

"I heard it quite a bit since we've been paired together at camp," said Myers. "I like it and I hope it sticks."

Aulie, a Calgary Flames draft pick who plays for the WHL's Brandon Wheat Kings, and Tyler Myers, the Kelowna Rockets blueliner whose rights belong to the Buffalo Sabres, have shown good chemistry for Canada's defence over a short period of time.

And they will be called upon to provide that physical spark when opponents push their teammates around. Nowhere will that be more evident than on New Year's Eve when Canada takes on the United States.

"Two big kids like that can cover a lot of territory," said head coach Pat Quinn. "They're certainly imposing and both are mobile. There are lots of assets there and as they go forward they could have some nice careers in front of them."

But for now, their focus remains on the World Junior Hockey Championship and helping Canada win its fifth straight gold medal. And so far, the duo has shown that size does matter.

Written with files from TSN's James Cybulski.