Sunaya Sapurji

  • Rychel's late gamble pays for Windsor with Fischer signing

    Sunaya Sapurji at Buzzing The Net 3 days ago

    It’s been a while, but Warren Rychel is finally looking forward to a Windsor Spitfires season with more than just cautious optimism.

    “You can probably tell I’m excited,” said the general manager. “More than I have been in the past few years. I think we’re a little deeper and we’ve made some changes.”

    A big part of that excitement came on Monday morning, when the team announced the signing of American forward Christian Fischer. The 18-year-old was a second round pick – 32 nd overall – of the Arizona Coyotes at the June NHL entry draft. He spent last season with the U.S. National Team Development Program’s under-18 squad, where he scored 31 goals and 33 assists in 66 games. The native of Wayne, Ill., had been committed to the hockey program at Notre Dame, but after recently signing a three-year entry-level contract with the Coyotes, his NCAA eligibility was quashed.

    “He’s a real smart, hard working player,” said Rychel of Fischer. “He’s good in the corners, good on the wall, plays a complete game and he can play in every situation: power play, penalty kill and even strength.”

    Rychel admits the penalty has taken – and continues to take - a toll on his team.

  • Rudi Ying follows family tradition, opens doors to China through hockey

    Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    Before Rudi Ying had even hit his teenage years, a meeting was arranged for him at a Chicago hotel room. He was 11 years old.

    There, he would get the opportunity to sit and talk with Houston Rockets centre Yao Ming, who already had achieved superstar status as one of China's most revered athletes.

    Ying had left China for the U.S. two years earlier in order to follow his hockey dream.

    He might not have realized it at the time, but that meeting with the NBA star would leave a lasting impression.

    “That was an experience,” said the now 17-year-old of his tête-à-tête with Ming. “He did for basketball basically what we would like to do for hockey – to completely open up the sport to China.

    “Even though he doesn’t play the same sport, I certainly see him as a role model in terms of opening up the sport to China.”

    This week at St. Michael’s College School Arena, Ying and fellow Chinese under-18 teammate Wei Zhong have been participating at the BioSteel hockey camp in Toronto, which includes Tyler Seguin, Taylor Hall, Mike Cammalleri, Wayne Simmonds and other NHLers.

    For Ying, it’s par for the course.

    Now, Ying is hoping he can do the same for sports in China through hockey.

  • Shawinigan's new marketing campaign 'an insult' to First Nations

    Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports 20 days ago


    Their latest in cultural appropriation comes in the form of an ill-guided marketing campaign which features three players: captain Anthony Beauvillier, Alexis D’Aoust and Samuel Girard – none of whom identify as First Nations - dressed up in the stereotypical warrior motif complete with war paint and braided hair with beads and feathers in team colours.

    It’s stunning to think someone with the Quebec league team thought this was a good idea.

    The slogan for the campaign is the equally tone deaf: “My History. My Colours”

    Former Halifax Mooseheads captain Trey Lewis, a Mi'kmaq from the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick, can’t understand how anyone with the team thought this would be a positive marketing tool. He said it might have been different if the players were themselves First Nations or if the team was on or, at very least, associated with one of the reserves in the area.

    “It’s disrespectful,” Lewis said. “To be marketing a team with First Nations imagery, I think they could have come up with a better idea to help promote their hockey team.

    “They’re not First Nations so, to be honest with you, I don’t know why they’re using it.”

  • Canada's Andre De Grasse earns second Pan Am gold medal in record time

    Sunaya Sapurji at Eh Game 1 mth ago

    Coming into the 2015 Pan Am Games, Andre De Grasse was hardly a household name for many Canadians. In fact many weren’t even sure how to correctly say his name.

    “A lot of people before this didn’t know how to pronounce my last name, they used to say De Grassi, but now I think everybody knows my name is (pronounced De Grass),” said De Grasse. “It feels really good that people know my name and I’m making an impact in the track and field world.”

    That would be an understatement.

    On Friday, De Grasse won his second gold medal of the Pan Am Games with a stunning victory in the men’s 200-metre. He finished with a time of 19.88, setting a Pan Am and Canadian record in the process. The 20-year-old also became the first Canadian to run the 200-metres with a sub-20 second time.

    “It feels amazing,” said De Grasse after the race. “The first Canadian to run under sub-20 seconds, it doesn’t get any better than this. It just feels like an unreal moment right now.”

    At first, he wasn’t even sure he had won the race since it was a tight finish with Jamaica’s Rasheed Dwyer (19.90), who won silver, and Panama’s Edward Alonzo, who claimed the bronze.

  • Damian Warner comes full circle by breaking Canadian decathlon record at Pan Am Games

    Sunaya Sapurji at Eh Game 1 mth ago


    “Before my first decathlon I had big dreams,” said the 25-year-old. “I thought I was going to be a world record holder from the start, but I kind of learned about patience and I continue to teach myself about patience and let things come where they may and do my best.”

    On Thursday, Warner made history when he broke the 19-year-old Canadian points record set by Michael Smith ( 8,626) back in 1996. He finished with 8,653 and set a new Pan Am record in the process.

    “I knew I wanted the Canadian record so bad,” said Warner. “I didn’t think there was a better place to have it here at home.”

    It was at the old track and field centre on the grounds of York University that Warner competed in his first ever competition. So it was a sort of homecoming for the London, Ont., native.

    “It’s kind of come full circle and I’m so grateful of it,” said Warner.

    Heading into the final event – the men’s 1,500-meters – Warner needed to finish with a time below 4.29, which would match his personal best. He finished with a time of 4:24.73.

    Prior to the race, he spoke to Kurt Felix – the eventual silver medallist – about the kind of pace they wanted to set for their run.

  • Passion, crowdfunding helps get Canadian handballers to Pan Am Games

    Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    When Dan Devlin stepped on the court for Canada’s inaugural match against Brazil, it marked the third time he had worn the Maple Leaf in the sport of handball at the Pan Am Games.

    It also marked the third time he had to pay his own way to get there.

    Such is life for athletes in niche sports trying to make headway in Canada, where the biggest challenge is often not on the field of play, but in trying to find funding.

    Devlin, like many of his handball teammates male and female, has been forced to crowdfund in order to represent Canada internationally.

    “A lot of us crowdfunded to be here which was fantastic because it eased a lot of the stress we had to do for work,” said the 31-year-old medical school student.“Typically when we’re at home we’re working, trying to live our lives, but we’re also working trying to have money available so we can continue to play handball. That’s one of the hardest things.”

    Having money for handball means paying for things like plane tickets and ancillary travel costs, gym time, physiotherapy and other expenses which come out of their own pockets.

    “The reason why we still do it? Like most of the guys on our team, we love to play the game.”


  • Legendary Don Cameron calls it a career as the voice of Kitchener Rangers

    Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    It was back in 1956 that Don Cameron made his first life-changing decision. He was just out of high school in his native Summerside, PEI, and he had to make the choice to either go to university or take a job in radio.

    “It was my life-long ambition to get into broadcasting and do play-by-play for hockey,” said the 79-year-old. “I used to do it as a kid playing road hockey, I say, ‘I’m not going to play anymore, I’m going to broadcast the game.’ Then I’d sit up on a fence and broadcast the game.”

    It’s no surprise: He took the radio job.

    He parlayed that gig calling games for the Summerside Aces – in the local senior league – into a job in St. Catharines, Ont., doing play-by-play for the Jr. A Teepees. That, too, was a big decision considering Cameron had spent his whole life on the Island.

    “Boy, were my eyes ever opened when that plane landed in Toronto,” said Cameron. “I took my first drive on a four-lane highway.”

    From there he moved to Kitchener, broadcasting games for the Dutchmen before becoming the play-by-play voice of the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers when the city first landed the team in 1963.

    The one thing he’ll miss the most? His interactions with the players.

  • Rocky's ready to rumble as head coach of Windsor Spitfires

    Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    Rocky Hockey is coming to Windsor and the Spitfires better be ready. On Friday, the OHL team announced they had hired former Edmonton Oilers assistant coach Rocky Thompson as head coach, replacing Bob Boughner.

    “We want to play fast and we want to play aggressive,” said Thompson of his new team. “We want our system to definitely be more aggressive than the Windsor Spitfires have played in the past.

    “I’m a family oriented individual it means everything to me and I know the culture has been great there, but I’m going to build on that foundation and there’s going to be trust in our locker room. Individuals are going to have success, but they’re going to want to be a part of the group. That’s something I can bring – bringing people together, teaching them the game and getting the most out of them.”

    “The type of people that we are we’re all very similar personalities,” said Thompson, a former third-round pick of the Flames in 1995. “The way we were able to succeed in the game was with hard work and determination because we weren’t the skilled guys out there. We had to come in the back door and come up the hard way which is always a good way because you feel good after a hard day’s work.”

  • General managers hoping their gambles pay at CHL import draft

    Sunaya Sapurji at Buzzing The Net 1 mth ago

    There were lots of gambles taking place on Tuesday as the Canadian Hockey League held their annual import draft. Many big names – including players taken last weekend at the NHL entry draft – were in the mix as 120 players had their CHL rights picked up.

    Going first overall to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan was Russian forward Vladimir Kuznetsov. The 17-year-old won a gold medal with Russia at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge last year and played the regular season with his hometown Yekaterinburg in the MHL, Russia’s junior league. He finished with 12 points in 43 games. He won't be eligible for the NHL draft until 2016.

    Russia lead the charge at the draft with 19 players selected followed by the Czech Republic (12) and Finland and Sweden tied at nine players a piece.

    One of the biggest names taken on Tuesday was Swedish defenceman Oliver Kylington, a second-round pick of the Calgary Flames. The 18-year-old was one of the biggest surprises last weekend when he fell late in the second round – 60 th overall – despite being projected as one of the top European skaters for the entry draft in Sunrise, Fla.