Kelowna Reporter doesn't want to play fair

Kelowna based sport’s reporter, Tieja MacLaughlin, is being held in Washington after allegedly driving across the border with the intention to kill her boyfriend, WHL player, Jackson Playfair.

It’s being reported that he cheated on her and that she told him something along the lines of you’ll be dead by the morning and then set off to Washington to see him. I’m sure her attractive looks and his celebrity will lead to a lot of publicity.

She’s being held without charges so maybe this will all blow over as a mistake. Or maybe she’ll be serving some hard time in Washington…we’ll find out.

Huffingtonpost.com - for the full story.

My pal Gabe

by Tieja MacLaughlin

Just over a year ago, I was killing time waiting out a layover at a Toronto bus station. Naturally I was people watching to counteract my boredom…come on, don’t act like you don’t do it either. Anyhow, in the midst of my activity I spotted a sharp dressed, handsome young man.

As I examined how well put together his outfit was I came to the conclusion that this guy had to be European. At first glance I didn’t think much of it, but as I took a second look I started to wonder why he looked so familiar. 

His European fashion sense and blonde hair had to be of Swedish decent and his build was athletic, no doubt about that. After putting two and two together, I realized that the unidentified male waiting in line to catch the bus was actually Kitchener Rangers captain Gabriel Landeskog.

But no way I thought to myself, how could this highly touted prospect be standing unbothered in a crowd – in the hockey-loving city of Toronto nonetheless?

Having just recently begun my internship with the Rangers, Gabriel was one of the players I had not yet had the chance to interview or speak with, and I mean, I still wasn’t even 100% sure it was actually him, so I was a bit hesitant in my approach.

Never one to shy away from meeting new people though, I welcomed the opportunity to introduce myself.

“Excuse me…hi there…I’m sorry I could be wrong, but are you Gabriel Landeskog?”

He must’ve thought I was crazy.

But sure enough, it was. We briefly chatted as I explained who I was, my new role with the team and how the season was going. Throughout the next few months I interviewed Gabe several times between the OHL and the U-20 World Junior Championship.

It was around this time that I wrote an opinion piece about a certain group of individuals in the game (you can find the article here: http://bit.ly/ynxT9O). In it I briefly outline some of the different personalities found on a team, and go on to highlight one specific kind of player – whom I refer to as the “special ones.” Well that “special” one in my mind last year was number 92. And he still is.

Gabe and I have remained in contact and I was sure to send my well wishes as he went on to achieve a lifelong goal, being drafted second overall in the National Hockey League.

He went on to sign a contract with the Colorado Avalanche, where he is having a spectacular rookie season – his most recent accomplishment being named to the rookie All-Star team. Somehow, I don’t think he’ll be needing to use public transportation anymore…although he’ll be the first to admit he’s an avid subway transit user back home in Stockholm.

The future is bright for my Swedish pal and I wish him nothing but the best.

Congrats Gabe!

In Other Words: Gabriel Landeskog

by Tieja MacLaughlin for East Ave Blue
Whether it’s Patrik Andersson, Yannick Weber, Mikkel Boedker, Jakub Kindl, or Boris Valabi, the Kitchener Rangers have been no stranger to European players.

The most recent over-seas influence on the roster comes from Stockholm, Sweden and sports number 92 on his backside as an ode to his birth year.  
As a 6-foot 1 and 207 lb gritty right-winger, Gabriel Landeskog has left his mark in North America and will forever be recognized as the first European-born captain in Rangers’ history. Quite an accomplishment for a young Swede, although Gabriel confesses, there isn’t much difference between Canadian and Swedish culture.  
“It’s not that different,” he said. “Well, I guess we don’t really listen to country music back home.” 
”Jag har hört vissa människor säger Sverige är fem år framåt i mode,” he added with a smirk.

Translation: “I’ve heard some people say Sweden is five years ahead in fashion.” 
Forget about the music and fasion though, as Kitchener’s “kapten”, as they say in Sweden, Gabriel has played a large role in keeping his team among the top in the Western Conference this season. His physicality, toughness, and shear desire have endeared him to Rangers’ fans. Not to mention, his off-ice qualities as well. 
Gabriel is finishing up his final year at high school and is at the top of his class. His grades actually surpass the majority of his teammates, who have English as their native language.

When he’s not at the rink, it’s likely you’ll find Gabe with a book in hand. It’s Not About The Bike by Lance Armstrong is his favourite, to be specific. 
Landeskog’s hockey route has been a unique one.

At the tender age of 16, he made the decision to leave his family and friends back home. In a first step towards pursuing his NHL dreams, Gabriel seized the opportunity to suit up in the Ontario Hockey League and become accustom to the North American lifestyle.  
“I think European players coming over to play junior hockey is a good thing,” said Landeskog. “It makes us develop at a young age and molds us into tougher players.” 
“Tough” is an adjective not often acquainted with players of European descent, but Gabriel believes times are changing. 
“I don’t think it’s something people really think about anymore,” he said. “With players like Mats Sundin or Peter Forsberg, there are a lot of tough guys in the NHL that come from Europe.” 
Despite living a Canadian lifestyle, Gabriel is proud of his Swedish roots and doesn’t hesitate to take a valiant stance behind his heritage. His favourite colours are blue and yellow – “Gå Sverige! … Go Sweden! – and his most memorable hockey team of all time is the 2006 Swedish Olympic squad that captured gold.  
Landeskog is the youngest player in Swedish history to play for Djurgarden and is among the youngest to have ever played in the Swedish Elite League. Although he only reported to three games, Gabriel still recorded a point playing as a 15-year-old among the top talent in his country. 
Over the holidays Landeskog added yet another line to add to his already impressive resume when he was named to the 2011 U-20 Swedish national team.

The IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, New York marked his fourth appearance representing Team Sweden at the international level. He has also played for his country’s U-16, U-17, and U-18 teams. 
On each of these squads Gabriel has worn a letter on his jersey. At the U-16, U-17, and U-18 tournaments he was named a team captain. This year at the U-20’s he was named an alternate captain with Adam Larsson at the helm.  
Things took an unexpected turn for Gabe though. After playing in a set of exhibition games and only one preliminary match-up, he suffered an ankle injury. His two-point game (one goal, one assist) against Norway had him on pace for a stellar WJC performance. 
“It was frustrating,” said Landeskog. “I obviously really wanted to play but somewhere along the line I had to listen to the better judgment of my dad and my agent.” 
In front of a near capacity crowd on the Maple Leafs’ home ice at the Air Canada Center, Gabriel played for one of his largest audiences to date when Canada faced Sweden in pre-tournament action.  
“It was something special for sure,” he said. “I’ve never played in a game like that before.” 
“You can’t really compare it to the Swedish Elite League. The crowd isn’t nearly as loud or as passionate for their country or their team. [The SEL] is pretty big in Sweden, but after having seen this, it’s a couple levels above for sure.” 
Sweden – who finished at the top of the standings in their group – ended up finishing the tournament in fourth place. Team USA defeated the squad to earn the bronze medal, leaving Sweden empty handed for the fist time since 2006. Following preliminary play however, Sweden was actually ranked above Russia and Canada – the eventual gold and silver medalists.  
“It’s more disappointing than anything,” said Landeskog. “We were aware that we could have been in the gold medal game and that we were good enough to be, but sometimes it just works out that way.”  
Gabriel remains positive despite the set back, and sees his injury as just a minor bump in the road towards his future.  
“This is a pretty big season for me this year,” said the 18 year old, who is eligible for the upcoming NHL Entry Draft in June. “And obviously for the Rangers too.” 
With his hard work and winning attitude, Gabriel has been a hot topic for scouts and reporters, and continues to be talked about as at least a top five draft pick. If Gabe’s lucky enough he’ll have the chance to suit up for his favourite NHL team one day, the Detroit Red Wings. And if he’s even luckier he’ll get to visit home soon to get a taste of what he misses most.  
“Min mammas svenska köttbullar,” he said. “My mom’s Swedish meatballs.” 

Erik Gudbranson: A bittersweet victory

by Tieja MacLaughlin
Erik Gudbranson may be one of the Kingston Frontenacs’ top physical forces on the blueline – not to mention, a third overall draft pick – but there’s more to this 6.04” 206-pound defenceman than meets the eye.

Gudbranson, dubbed the “best of the rest” in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft after Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin, was picked up third overall by the Florida Panthers. Unable to work out a contract with the team, Gudbranson returned to play another season in Kingston much to the surprise – and delight – of head coach Dave Gilmour.

“He’s got so much experience,” Gudbranson commented in regards to Gilmour being a mentor. “He’s got all the tools in the world, and he’s been able to pass them down to me. Certainly last year in my draft year he helped me a lot.”

The Frontenacs’ assistant captain will be attending the Team Canada selection camp in Toronto this week, vying for a spot on the 22-man roster set to compete in Buffalo at the 2011 IIHF World Junior championships.

Gudbranson’s performance at the Canada-Russia Super Series only solidified his case for earning a spot on the squad, being named Team OHL Player of the Game in one of his two appearances.

“I came into [the game] saying I was going to throw some hits; throw the body around; and really step it up,” Gudbranson commented. “It seemed to work.”

The third-year Orleans native missed 25 games last season due to a knee injury and a bout with mononucleosis.  But as a hard hitting, shut down d-man, he still finished the 2009-2010 season with two goals and 11 assists for 23 points, a plus-11 plus-minus rating and 68 penalty minutes in 41 games.

Outside of the rink, Gudbranson excels in the classroom and was also named the OHL Scholastic Player of the Year.

“It’s just time management really,” Gudbranson said. “At some point you’ve got to deflect your attention away [from hockey], and do some school work to stimulate the brain.”
“My parents have always been super big on school work, and they’ve brought me up to believe that it’s important.”

But what makes Erik’s story so special, is the battle the entire Gudbranson family has gone through. Erik’s youngest brother Dennis was diagnosed with leukemia before the tender age of eight – Erik himself was barely 13 at the time.

“It was tough at the time obviously,” Gudbranson confessed. “Especially tough having to deal with that kind of stuff when I was so young.”

After two separate battles with the disease, Dennis is now a full cure.

“Looking back on it, it’s really easy for me to say it’s a success story,” Gudbranson said. “I’d say it’s been a bittersweet thing for our family and has brought us closer together.”

Erik’s siblings, sister Chantal, and brother Alex – who now plays in Kingston alongside his older brother – came together to rally around Dennis alongside the rest of the family and with the support of the hockey community.

“I think what it really did for me was put hockey into perspective,” Gudbranson offered. “Whenever I’m on the ice now I don’t think about anything else; it’s my favourite place to be.”

It’s exactly this kind of character and compassion Dale Tallon was looking for when making his first overall selection.

“I come to the rink everyday and I absolutely love it, not that I didn’t before, but it’s certainly my oasis now.”

Gabriel Landeskog, Kitchener Rangers
  • Q:In five years I will be...
  • A:Playing hockey
  • Q:All I really want for Christmas is...
  • A:World Junior Championship gold
  • Q:My New Year's resolution is...
  • A:Work out more
  • Q:Something people probably wouldn't know about me...
  • A:I have a twin sister
  • Q:My favourite NHL team is...
  • A:The Detroit Red Wings
  • Q:An actor who would play you in a movie...
  • A:Will Smith
CWHL All-Star Game 'inspires' next generation

by Tieja MacLaughlin

Riley MacKenzie sat rink side at the Air Canada Centre on a Saturday afternoon in December, wearing her Toronto Leaside Wildcats jersey, while taking in the very first CWHL All-Star Game.

Joined by her teammates in a sea of red and white Toronto Leaside colours, a starry-eyed MacKenzie looked on as No. 24 on Team White headed to the dressing room.

“It was awesome when Spooner scored that goal and went top shelf,” she said with an unmistakable excitement in her voice.

The Wildcats are one of the largest female hockey associations in Ontario and Toronto area native Natalie Spooner, who hails from Scarborough specifically, is of course MacKenzie’s favourite player.

“I really like hockey because I watched my brother play when I was younger, and I was basically in the rink every day,” she explained.

In their first team outing of the season, the Wildcats watched the best players in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League take part in its inaugural all-star showcase.

“I think the girls are really inspired being here,” said Jenna McEachern, assistant coach of the Wildcats. “They find it amazing how fast these women are, and the intensity and level of their game. They can actually see some of the things that we’ve been working on too – like going to the net, or getting a rebound.”

The girls were most eager to line up alongside the player’s tunnel and share in a glove tap before the start of the period.

As the puck dropped on the third, MacKenzie began recounting stories from the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia – most memorably the women’s gold medal overtime decision between Canada and the U.S.– before she was cut short and the arena erupted in cheers.

Team Red tied the game.

The youngster and her teammates didn’t seem to take much notice though, pausing only for a moment before recognizing the opposing team.

“We’re cheering for Team White,” she said, definitively. “The hometown team.”

The same team represented by her favourite winger from the Toronto Furies.

“When I was growing up I looked up to women like Cassie Campbell and Jennifer Botterill,” Spooner, who had a goal and an assistant before being named second star, said after the game. “And now to kind of be someone like that, it’s pretty cool.”

Spooner shares a mutual excitement with her younger counterpart when asked about her influence on the next generation of female hockey players.

“I never thought I was going to be here,” she said. “But hard work pays off. I want these girls to keep dreaming that they can be here one day too, playing in the CWHL or in the Olympics. Just stay strong and keep working hard.”

For MacKenzie, following in Spooner’s footsteps would be nothing short of a dream come true.

“That would be really, really cool.”

Welcome to the Show

20 year-old Zac Dalpe goes ‘Big time’

by Tieja MacLaughlin

It’s not often you hear a story of a 20-year old making the jump to the National Hockey League after being cut from a junior C club.

 But Zac Dalpe, the Carolina Hurricanes’ newest centre-forward, has done exactly that.

Barely five years after being deemed “too small” to play for his hometown junior C team, the Paris Mounties, Dalpe has achieved a goal so many only dream of.

The now 6-foot-1, 195-pound Dalpe is travelling the world playing professional hockey.

“‘Big time’ is what we used to call it growing up,” Dalpe said. “It’s sort of surreal being here now.”

The Paris, ON native has gone from playing with the junior B Stratford Cullitons of the OJHL (Ontario Junior Hockey League), to the Penticton Vees of the BCHL (British Columbia Hockey League), and, most recently, Ohio State University on an athletic scholarship.

After being drafted in the second round (45th overall) by the Hurricanes in 2008, Dalpe has now cracked the team’s roster.

The 20-year old was given the opportunity to play his first set of games for the Canes overseas – an exhibition game in Russia and two regular season contests in Finland. Carolina picked up two wins over the Minnesota Wild, and Dalpe notched his first career point - an assist on an Anton Babchuk goal. 

“I was honestly thinking please just score,” Dalpe said with a laugh. “It’s not often that you get the opportunity to set up a play like that.”

With three players on the Canes roster hailing from Finland, Dalpe and his teammates were able to experience some authentic Finnish traditions, including a trip to an exotic smoke-sauna on a private island, a treat from Carolina forward Tuomo Ruutu.

Now back in North America, Dalpe is currently in the midst of a five-game road trip which includes stops in Los Angeles and Phoenix.

“It’s tough doing all of this travelling and adjusting to the time changes,” he admits. “I’m used to playing just over 30 games at the college level.”

In Raleigh, North Carolina, Dalpe bunks with another rookie – 18 year-old Jeff Skinner, a former Kitchener Ranger. 

“All of the guys say he’s like my younger brother,” said Dalpe, who has two brothers himself. “He’s a really great guy, always laughing and has a big smile.

“I always think I’m making these really funny jokes when he’s cracking up, but then I see him have the same reaction with all the other guys and I realize it’s not just me.”

The Canes’ young guns are now playing alongside some of the very players they grew up watching.

“My first game I remember looking down at the other end of the ice and seeing all these big names,” Dalpe said. “But you can’t think too much about it, because you won’t be on the ice for very much longer if they score.”

Dalpe says he now has his sights set on his first NHL goal, and he’s continuing to improve his game with advice from the veteran players. 

The most pivotal step for him going forward will be getting the call from upper management to find more permanent living arrangements in Raleigh.

“Right now Skinner and I are set up in a long-term stay hotel,” Dalpe said. “But when you get the call to find more permanent living arrangements, you know you’ll be here awhile.”


Chatting with Zac Dalpe of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Following family footsteps

Nick Schmaltz has taken a familiar path to the World Junior A Challenge
by Tieja MacLaughlin for Hockey Canada

Nick Schmaltz remembers sitting next to his mother and father at the Consol Energy Centre in Pittsburgh, Penn. It was the summer of 2012 and older brother Jordan was projected as a high end draft pick at the NHL Entry Draft.

“I had some butterflies in my stomach,” said Nick, before hearing Jordan’s name selected by St. Louis with the 25th pick. “It was getting late into the first round and we didn’t know if he was going to go or not – he was kind of a borderline guy. We waited about two to three hours until he got selected.”

As Nick enters into his draft year he finds himself in a similar situation, as a top-ranked prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft. The 17-year old is one of only three A-rated prospects on NHL Central Scouting’s preliminary list of players to watch from the United States Hockey League (USHL).

Nick is a second-year forward with the Green Bay Gamblers – the same team his brother, a defenceman, won a Clark Cup with in 2012. Both Schmaltz’s also played for the under-16 Chicago Mission, and Nick is committed to the University of North Dakota, where Jordan is in his sophomore year.

“He’s been a pretty big influence,” said Nick, when asked about the brothers’ nearly identical hockey careers. “I’ve looked up to him and been proud of what he’s done so far. I try to follow him and I’m working hard to be half as successful as he has been.”

North Dakota was an obvious choice for Nick, who was named to the USHL All-Rookie Team last season with 52 points (18 goals, 34 assists) in 64 games. Nick is native of Verona, Wis., but his parents were raised in Bismarck, N.D., and his father and two uncles played college football at North Dakota.

“There was a pretty obvious family influence there,” said Jordan. “We also talked about having the chance to play together one day, and I think that had a big impact on his decision as well.”

Nick and Jordan suited up together on one other occasion – Jordan’s final season with the Gamblers, when Nick was recalled from minor midget. The brothers played 10 games together at Green Bay, which was the first time they saw their names on the same roster outside of summer hockey or pick-up games on the outdoor rink.

“That was pretty special,” said Nick, who was 15 at the time. “I was a little nervous at first with some of the older guys, but it was really fun and [Jordan] was a good leader for me. He showed me the way and made the transition easy; I hope I get to play with him again next year.”

This year Nick will once again follow in his brother’s footsteps as he suits up for the U.S. at the World Junior A Challenge in Yarmouth, N.S.

Jordan made two appearances at the tournament, winning a gold medal in 2010 and bronze in 2011. This year’s tournament will mark Nick’s third international appearance. He recorded nine points and won a silver medal at the 2013 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka under-18 tournament in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, in addition to representing the United States at the 2012 Youth Olympic Games in Austria.

“It’s an honour every time I get to put on the jersey,” said Nick. “Not many kids get to do that, so I take pride and make sure I make the most of it.”

Nick will have some familiar faces joining him in Yarmouth; Green Bay head coach Derek Lalonde will serve as bench boss for the U.S. squad, while two fellow Gamblers – Matthew Weis and Jordan Gross – will don the red, white and blue, and a former teammate from midget – Seamus Malone – has also been named to the roster.

“I’m excited to play with a bunch of great players from the USHL,” said Nick, who will be making his first visit to Eastern Canada. “I’ve been told [Yarmouth] is a small town and people are hockey crazy, so it should be fun. I think it will be a good experience to see other Junior A teams from around the world and hopefully we can bring home the gold.”

The United States has captured gold four of the past five years at the tournament. Nick hopes to do the same this year, with a little advice from his older brother.

“I just tell him to control what you can control and play hard,” said Jordan. “It’s all about the simple things. I don’t try and put too much on him – he’s a mature kid and he knows what he has to do.”

Jennifer Potter brings plethora of experience; impressive resume to Boston Blades

by Tieja MacLaughlin for the Canadian Women’s Hockey League

Few female hockey players in the world boast a resume that includes as many accolades as long-time U.S. Women’s National Team member Jenny Potter.

Selected in the first round, fourth overall, by the Boston Blades in the 2014 CWHL Draft, Potter has made four Olympic appearances and competed in an incredible 12 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championships.

She medalled at all of them.

Highlighting her decorated career was a gold medal win at the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, the first-ever Olympics to feature women’s hockey.

Potter has also received several most valuable player awards, including honours from her alma mater NCAA Division I programs at the University of Minnesota Duluth and the University of Minnesota. She most recently won a league championship with the Minnesota Whitecaps of the Western Women’s Hockey League and also spent a season coaching at Trinity College in Connecticut.

As one of the top players in the game, the 35-year-old veteran forward adds experience and offensive depth to the Blades’ roster.

“We’ll be looking to Jenny for a leadership role for sure,” general manager Aronda Kirby said. “She has great experience, obviously great talent, and she’s played at the highest level of the sport for so many years. I think she has a lot to offer for many of the players.”

Potter joins an offensive core led by Hilary Knight and U.S. Olympic captain Meghan Duggan.

“I’m looking forward to participating in the CWHL,” Potter said. “I’m excited to get out there and play competitive hockey with and against some phenomenal players.”

Other additions to the Blades’ line-up include U.S. Olympians Monique Lamoureux and Brianna Decker, who were selected second and third overall, respectively, in this year’s draft.

“As you can see, we have some amazing talent coming in,” Kirby said. “With the new players and our existing players, we have an experienced team that brings a lot of talent to the ice.”

The Blades are just two seasons removed from capturing the regular season title and being crowned 2013 Clarkson Cup champions.

One-time CWHL Coach of the Year Digit Murphy enters her third season at the helm, and under her leadership the Blades finished the 2013-14 campaign with a 13-10-0 regular season record.

During the post season, the second seeded Blades went undefeated in round robin play, but eventually fell to the Toronto Furies in overtime of the Clarkson Cup Final.

With a wealth of experience and a strong core, the team is poised to be a contender again this year.

“We have a lot to look forward to,” Kirby said. “We’re looking to bring the Cup back.”

OK College enhances trade program

by Tieja MacLaughlin for Castanet

Okanagan College has changes in store for its Trades and Apprenticeship Program.

In January of 2014, Steve Moores will take over as the Dean of Trades and Apprenticeship.

Moores has spent nearly three decades working in education as an instructor, program chair and associate dean during his 23-year tenure at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT).

“I am excited to contribute to the College’s agenda,“ said Moores. "Specifically along the lines of working with industry, First Nations and the ITA to promote the future of trades training to meet the needs of this region and beyond.”

Canada is expected to see a shortage of skilled workers in the coming years. According to Statistics Canada, a number of skilled-trade professions could face labour shortage as fewer young adults obtain trades certificates to replace the preceding generation.

The federal government has noted that the construction sector alone will require 319,000 new workers over the next seven years.

“[Moores’] experience and qualifications combined with his vision for the future of Trades training are going to make him a huge asset to our College and community,” said Dr. Andrew Hay, Vice President Education. “He is coming to us at a time when we have great opportunities to deliver innovative and practical solutions to meet the needs of our region, province and country.”

Moores’ introduction as Dean comes as the college moves ahead with construction of the new Trades Training Complex - a $33 million project to renovate and expand their current facility.

The innovative and environmentally sustainable facility, to be completed in the spring of 2016, is expected to be the largest trades training centre between the Lower Mainland and Calgary, providing space for more than 2,400 students.

OK College offers trades programs in aircraft maintenance, culinary arts, construction, electrical, and welding among other disciplines.

What's in a name?

by Tieja MacLaughlin for Steve Dangle

For the Sedins, the Staals, and the Sutters, hockey runs through the proverbial family tree. The legacy behind their last names has been passed down from father to son, and from older to younger sibling.

On the Team Canada junior squad this year, there are two players with recognizable counterparts – Brayden Schenn and Marcus Foligno.

Brayden’s older brother Luke is in his third season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, while Marcus’ brother Nick is a winger for the Ottawa Senators.

Perhaps the most notable family tie between the pair is the Foligno father Mike, who played 15 seasons in the National Hockey League, and who is now behind the bench as an assistant coach with the Anaheim Ducks.

“There’s a lot of hype when you hear a Foligno name,” said Nick. “[Hockey] is a sport we all love, and I’m just excited to be a part of that.”

Both Brayden and Marcus are the youngest brothers in their family, and have seen first hand at an early age the success of their siblings.

Luke won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2008 World Junior Championships, and after losing to the US at last year’s tournament, Brayden is eager for redemption.

“I can’t let him one up me,” said Schenn. “It’s my turn for gold hopefully, and that’s what I’m pushing for.”

Nick on the other hand, didn’t make the cut for Team USA throughout his junior career. Since the Folignos have duel citizenship, Marcus had the option of playing for either Canada or USA this year – and said it was an easy choice to wear the maple leaf. He’s now hoping to earn the hardware his brother never did.

Despite the light-hearted rivalry, the younger siblings both model elements of their game around their older brothers, so well that even Schenn’s Team Canada teammate Tyson Barrie, confuses the two.

“Drew Doughty has also played with both of us and said the same,” added Schenn. “I’ve heard many times that we’re like the same person.”

Both the Schenn and Foligno families have been out to show their support at Team Canada’s three exhibition games over the past week.

“That was exciting to have him here,” said Foligno catching up with his father following Thursday’s tune-up against Team Finland. “I haven’t seen him since September.”

Like father, like son – Foligno was drafted to the Buffalo Sabres – the team his dad played on for 10 of his 15 years in the National League, and Mr. Foligno certainly has no lack of advice for his son.

“He doesn’t stop with that stuff,” said Foligno. “He’s always there and always texting me – I don’t think there’s a better texter than my dad.”

“But you’ve got to listen to him because he’s been there and done everything.”

Brayden and Marcus now have their sights set on gold, as they get ready to face Team Russia in their first match-up of the World Junior tournament on Boxing Day. The boys will look to add to the successes of their families, and help carve the way for another dynamic hockey last name.

Reflections on the 2010 Super Series

A glimpse at what went on behind the scenes: World Junior hopefuls, Russian humour, and most importantly, Canadian pride

by Tieja MacLaughlin

As a journalist, this event was exciting on many levels. First and foremost, and I’m sure most of you would agree, the intensity when entire countries compete against one another is unprecedented in comparison to the degree of play between regional teams.

International events bring about a whole new level of pride, not only for the players, but trickling down to even the least-knowledgeable hockey fan.

Team OHL ended up shutting out the Russians by a final score of 4-0, which was much needed after the QMJHL lost the first two games of the series for the CHL. In my opinion, the Russians looked flat and it appeared the travelling had caught up with them. Team OHL is now undefeated in Super Series history (15-0).

Some of these players have been drafted, and many of them will go on to represent Team Canada at the World Junior Championships this Christmas. Seeing them play here before they reach the big stage, is like getting the opportunity to watch a band play at an intimate and local venue before they’ve gone on to million dollar record deals.

A journalist’s dream, the rosters of 17 and 18-year old players were more or less excited to be interviewed, and they were more personable than older players who have been de-sensitized by all of the media attention.

Of course as expected, I had a hay-day speaking with the Russians. I always have a great time interviewing import players – I find it intriguing to hear about their different cultures, not to mention, it’s always entertaining trying to overcome the language barrier.

Vladislav Namestnikov (forward) and Igor Bobkov (goaltender) - both who play for the London Knights during the regular season - were the only two Russian players available to the media, simply because they were the only two who could string together a few words of English.

The highlight of the day for me was Bobkov, in his broken English, explaining how Russian defensemen are better than Canadians – “Sometimes in Ontario, defensemen (uhm how you say) are not so good as Russians.”

Just to clarify I had understood his point, I reiterated, “So Russian defensemen are stronger than OHL defensemen?”

His answer, “Yes. For me, yes.”

I should’ve asked the OHL d-men what they thought about that.

For Team OHL I spoke with Erik Gudbranson, Calvin de Haan, Taylor Doherty, and Ryan Murphy.

What surprised me the most, was the proximity the fans had to the athletes – to get seat access to one section of the stands, fans would have to walk behind the athlete as they were doing their on-air interviews. All I was thinking was what a disaster that would be if some obnoxious kid decided to pull a prank.

For myself personally, there were a few perks that came with my media credentials. For the opening ceremonies I was standing beside Vladislav Tretiak - although we never actually spoke - on the tail end of the red carpet just off the ice, and let me tell you, there’s no better view than that.

For the duration of the game I sat from a vantage point with the rest of the media, broadcasters, and scouts – also very neat.

After the game, I stayed a bit later than most of the other media to really soak up the experience. The Russian players were playing with a soccer ball for their cool downs, and I just observed as they made jokes – all of which I obviously could not understand.

Overall what really hit home with me was as the players left their dressing rooms, they slung their bags over their shoulders and carrying their sticks, loaded up the buses themselves. That was a treat to see; and quite humbling – brings you back to minor hockey days.

Looking forward to the remainder of the Super Series, Team OHL has one more game in Sudbury next week before the Russians moves on to the west coast for the WHL leg of the tournament.

"Sports, Depression and Me": A Response to Michael Landsberg

by Tieja MacLaughlin

This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week has inspired many conversations about mental health, thanks in part to Bell Let’s Talk Day and the courageous storytelling of Michael Landsberg and other athletes.

The main objective of these initiatives is to erase the stigma associated with “mental health disorders.” And lets face it; most of us do have quite negative connotations with the term “mental health” – you’re either viewed as ‘crazy’, ‘not normal’ or simply, ‘weak’.

What I have learned over the past five years especially is that mental health is NOT a sign of weakness, and it’s certainly not something to be neglected. Most of us are obsessed about our physical health – beauty, fitness, fashion, etc. – but we neglect our mental health. In order to look good, we must first feel good, and this is something most of us do not fully understand.

There are varying degrees of mental health disorders – none of which are to be undermined – but something all of us do go through in our lives, are times of despair. I think we live in a society that is so afraid to show vulnerability or weakness, that this hurts us as individuals.

Everyone has his or her story of weakness…everyone.

Between the ages of about 16-18 was when I went through my toughest times: I moved out of my parent’s house, switched schools, had a really bad break-up and experienced the deaths of my grandmother and best friend.  At the time I thought I was just fine, but in retrospect I was a disaster.

What I think I failed to do, like many people, was talk to someone. I grew up in a household where failure was not an option and weakness was unacceptable. I didn’t understand or acknowledge, the healing properties of communication.

Today I continue to grow and learn and recognize something new about myself everyday. Sports and athletics has become my outlet, and I’ve been truly privileged in that my career allows me to talk with athletes about their craft, and what’s even more compelling, their personal journey.

I’ve been so inspired by the conversations led by Let’s Talk Day and other various individuals. They have made, and continue to make, huge positive strides in the public and social spheres of mental health.

We’ve heard the heartbreaking story of Daron Richardson – daughter of Ottawa Senators’ coach Luke Richardson – who took her own life last year. Did you know suicide is the second leading cause of death among teenagers?

That is completely unacceptable.

We’ve also heard the stories of Clara Hughes, Darryl Strawberry and Stephane Richer on TSN…three brilliant athletes who were strong enough to open up and share their journey. One in five Canadians will experience a form of mental illness in their lifetime, just like these three did, but two thirds of those people will suffer in silence because they fear judgment and rejection.  


We as individuals; as human beings; as members of society, need to erase the stigma and erase the fear, and realize that all of us – from top athletes, to broadcasters, to fans, whoever – experience moments of weakness. And we should never, ever be ashamed.

Thank you Michael Landsberg for inspiring my conversation.