Sunaya Sapurji is the junior hockey columnist for Yahoo! Sports Canada.
- Sunaya Sapurji | Yahoo! Sports – 13 hours ago
- Sunaya Sapurji | Yahoo! Sports – Fri, May 17, 2013 9:12 AM EDTSASKATOON — Long before Seth Jones and Nathan MacKinnon were the top-ranked players for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, they were friends. And before they became good friends, they were roommates.The two junior superstars first met in Los Angeles at an elite summer camp run by the agency – CAA - that represents both players. They were barely 15 and still relatively under the radar in the grand scheme of hockey’s star system.They spent two weeks rooming together.
“We just started bonding and sharing each other’s similarities,” said Jones, a defenceman with the Portland Winterhawks. “It’ just took off from there.”
[2013 Memorial Cup: Do the host Saskatoon Blades have what it takes?]In every summer camp since that initial meeting, they’ve continued to share a room. “Seth is a neat guy for sure,” said MacKinnon, a forward with the Halifax Mooseheads. “He’s pretty easy going. We like to have some late night food runs in the room and it’s pretty simple... he’s pretty solid and we like to have a goodRead More »from 2013 Memorial Cup: Seth Jones and Nathan MacKinnon were friends before becoming foes
- Sunaya Sapurji | Yahoo! Sports – Tue, Apr 23, 2013 1:04 PM EDT
HALIFAX — On this night, the smell of success for Nathan MacKinnon is more pungent than pure. A three-goal performance on this evening means the sweat-soaked MacKinnon is walking around the basement of the Halifax Metro Centre in black baseball cap, red undershirt, and a chocolate brown fur coat.
He might look ridiculous, but there's swagger in MacKinnon's walk.
The fur is a totem the Halifax Mooseheads have been giving their player of the game to wear this season. Its provenance is unknown, though it looks like something you might find in grandma’s attic.
And the coat reeks. Badly. It’s a gag-inducing mix of hockey sweat and wet fur.
“I’m sure you can smell it from here,” says MacKinnon, laughing and standing a foot away.
Yes, you can.
“It’s getting pretty gross,” he continues. “This is the ninth (playoff) game we’ve played and nobody showers before putting it on, so it’s definitely a little stinky. But it adds character, for sure.”
Character is something MacKinnon knows all too well.Read More »from Playoff nirvana: Smells like team spirit for MacKinnon's Mooseheads
- Sunaya Sapurji | Yahoo! Sports – Sun, Apr 21, 2013 12:09 PM EDT
- Sunaya Sapurji | Yahoo! Sports – Wed, Apr 17, 2013 8:44 AM EDT
But turning pro at 19 and spending 14 seasons in the National Hockey League have provided him a life experience to which very few people can relate.
Now, as the interim head coach of the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks, he says there are times he wishes he could go back to his early playing days and do things a little differently.
“I joke about it,” says Green. “I never knew how important coaches were until I started coaching.
“I’ve learned what a pain in the ass I must have been as a player. At 19 when I turned pro until 37 when I retired, I learned a lot over that time and I look back now and, joking aside, I’m a little embarrassed at how I was as a young guy. I see a lot of that in our own players. It doesn’t surprise me some of the things these young guys will do or say or even how they’ll play at certain times of the game. They’re young and they haven’t been through a lot in their hockey careers. ButRead More »from Pressed into coaching duty, Travis Green’s Winterhawks aim for WHL title
- Sunaya Sapurji | Yahoo! Sports – Mon, Apr 8, 2013 3:05 PM EDT
Undertaking his first Ontario Hockey League playoff run, Barrie Colts defenceman Michael Webster has a little more confidence than your average rookie.
They have goaltender Mathias Niederberger.
“You don’t have to worry about getting beat or giving up a challenging shot because he’s proven he can keep that door shut,” said the 17-year-old Webster. “He doesn’t give up many rebounds and he really makes a defenceman’s job easy.”
It looked easy on Sunday night when Niederberger made 35 saves to shut out the Oshawa Generals 4-0 and steal an important road victory. The only time the Generals came close was early in the first period when the 20-year-old netminder made an initial save, but lost the puck in his crease. He fell flat on his back, with the puck smothered underneath,Read More »from Barrie Colts goalie Mathias Niederberger stands tall as the last wall of defence
- Sunaya Sapurji | Yahoo! Sports – Fri, Mar 22, 2013 1:33 PM EDT
For Nathan MacKinnon, however, being a fan of his Halifax Mooseheads only lasted 14 games. So while he sat out, mending a knee injury, he was able to appreciate some of the small details you only catch with a bird’s-eye view.
“It just seems like there’s always a little more time than you think when you have the puck,” said MacKinnon of what he learned from watching. “Sometimes you can rush a little bit if you think you’re under pressure, but I found that you can definitely create more time.”
It’s a difficult virtue to master even for those of us who aren’t 17-year-old hockey prodigies. But it speaks to MacKinnon’s attention to the finer points of his game.
“It’s maturity more than anything,” said Halifax general manager Cam Russell. “It’s niceRead More »from MacKinnon rested, revved for long playoff run with top-ranked Mooseheads
- Sunaya Sapurji | Yahoo! Sports – Thu, Feb 28, 2013 2:09 PM EST
The one he’s sporting is pre-tied, and purple to match his shirt. The form-fitting wool cap on his head makes the diminutive Russian look like a cross between history professor and baby-faced hipster. When asked about this particular fashion statement, the Soo Greyhounds forward is ebullient.
“It’s a special day for me,” says Tolchinsky.
It’s a non-descript Sunday afternoon in Mississauga, though he has just collected three assists while helping the Greyhounds beat the host Steelheads 4-3. He celebrated his 18th birthday in early February.
So what exactly is so special about today?
“Every game day is a special day.”
Tolchinsky is a colourful character who is happiest when on the ice. It’s not uncommon to find him at the rink in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., long before everyone else arrives and long after everyone else has gone home. Hockey for him has always been fun, not hardRead More »from Tolchinsky's a small wonder in the Soo
- Sunaya Sapurji | Yahoo! Sports – Thu, Feb 7, 2013 2:44 PM EST
- Sunaya Sapurji | Yahoo! Sports – Thu, Feb 7, 2013 2:17 PM EST