Sunaya Sapurji

  • Canada’s road to world junior gold starts with countless kilometres and conference calls

    Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    Ryan Jankowski has seen 62 games since September. He knows the exact count, because each time he fires up his computer to input a new scouting report, it greets him with the latest number.

    As Hockey Canada’s head scout, he’s travelled from coast to coast to watch the best players available for the upcoming world junior championship.

    “It’s been full-on since Sept. 15,” said Jankowski, who joined Hockey Canada last year after almost a decade as a NHL scout. “Where we try to gain a lot of information is at the NHL rookie tournaments because those players are in a very similar situation as they are at the world juniors, which is out of their comfort zone. They’re playing against bigger, older, stronger guys, so that’s really where the season kicks off.”

    “Ryan puts in a ton of time on the road and I think last year was a real learning year for him and it certainly was for me in just understanding the whole program,” said Hamilton, who like Jankowski joined the national junior team management group in the summer of 2013.

    And each year without hardware sends the country – those for whom junior hockey is only a once–a-year occurrence – into a tizzy about the state of the game.

  • Sudbury Wolves trade Nick Baptiste to Erie Otters

    Sunaya Sapurji at Buzzing The Net 2 days ago

    The deal was finally brokered on Monday when the Wolves sent the 19-year-old Buffalo Sabres prospect to the powerhouse Erie Otters. In exchange the Wolves 19-year-old forward Travis Wood, 17-year-old defenceman Cole Mayo, two second round picks and two third round picks. The only thing that's missing is the partridge in a pear tree.

    "We worked on (the trade) for a while," said Erie Otters general manager Sherry Bassin on Monday afternoon. "I've been a fan of (Baptiste's) since midget hockey, you couldn't help but be a fan because he's got skill, he's got high character and I can't say enough about him.

    "I think Buffalo got one hell of a player."

    The Wolves with their 4-19 record get a nice young prospect in Mayo and some picks to rebuild for the future since this season is practically a write off.

    The Otters, of course, get to add another impressive piece to an already stellar puzzle featuring the likes of Connor McDavid! and Dyan Strome up front.

    "We're happy with what we see and what we hear from the doctor," said Bassin of McDavid's progress.

  • Quinn leaves indelible mark on junior hockey in Canada

    Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago


    Pat Quinn was a great storyteller. It was that impressive skill that held him in good stead as a coach. He was able to use those words to not only get the most out of his players, but those around him as well.

    In 2009, he coached Canada’s world junior team to a gold medal in Ottawa. Once the final roster had been selected, the team travelled to Petawawa, Ont., for three days to do some bonding exercises at the Canadian Forces Base.

    At a reception for the team, filled with military personnel, Quinn was asked to say a few impromptu words to the men and women who kept Canada safe. He didn’t have anything prepared or planned, but as a master orator, he didn’t need to.

    He spoke powerfully and movingly about how often hockey uses the analogies of war and battle in something as trivial as a game when Canada’s soldiers are the ones who truly sacrifice.

    “He spoke for about 10 to 12 minutes and you could hear a pin drop in that room,” said Ottawa Senators assistant coach Dave Cameron, who was one of Quinn’s world junior assistants. “To this day I wish somebody would have taped that speech. It was just a testament to how worldly this man was and how smart this man was.

  • Saying sorry not nearly good enough for OHL players’ abusive language

    Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports 22 days ago

    Greg Betzold says he’s sorry.

    Earlier this week a conversation between the Peterborough Petes player and a woman on the dating app Tinder was made public. In part of his conversation with the woman he calls her a "pure bread (sic) dumb stupid c—t."

    A second conversation, allegedly involving another player on the same app, also was disclosed. According to sources the second player has denied having made the scurrilous comments and the Ontario Hockey League is investigating. On Tuesday evening, Belleville Bulls forward Jake Marchment, a Los Angeles Kings prospect, took responsibility for those comments and apologized via his Twitter account.

    Like Betzold, when the advances are rejected, the other conversation becomes thick with misogyny and entitlement.

    “Babe I play in the O and got drafted to the NHL ya I get turned down so much…Lolz you ugly c—t.”

    Betzold issued an apology on Twitter which in part read that his comments “do not reflect my true values or views.”

    “I’m just going to say we’ve dealt with him,” said the GM on Tuesday. “We’ve dealt with the incident internally and we’re moving forward.”

    He hadn’t seen me.

    Internally and behind closed team doors.

  • Rebuilding Saginaw Spirit prepping to move veteran goalie Jake Paterson

    Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    Jake Paterson was peddling away on a stationary bike in a basement corridor outside the visitor’s dressing room. It had only been minutes since the game ended and the 20-year-old had already put the loss in his rear view.

    On this day, it was a 4-2 defeat for his Saginaw Spirit (5-7-1-0) against the Mississauga Steelheads. He made 41 saves and gave his team the type of performance you'd expect from a two-time member of Canada’s world junior team. Paterson was solid, anchoring a green defence corps which featured three 17-year-olds and a 16-year-old.

    The Steelheads are far from an Eastern Conference juggernaut in the Ontario Hockey League – one game above .500 – so the loss by the Spirit was telling. The Detroit Red Wings returned Paterson, a third-round pick in 2012, to the Spirit in early October, since there was no room for him in the NHL team’s farm system.

    The numbers were not in his favour.

    “It’s good to have one last year here and hopefully have a good run.”

    But don’t expect that run to come with Saginaw this season.

    “He’s been great for our organization and I want to do right by him, so that’s important to us.”




  • Windsor's Josh Ho-Sang gets his foot in the door with Hockey Canada

    Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    Josh Ho-Sang will finally get a chance to make his case to Hockey Canada next month. In person, and on the ice.

    The outspoken Windsor Spitfires forward will play in one of two OHL Super Series games against Russia. The Super Series event is used by Hockey Canada’s brain trust to evaluate potential players for the final winter selection camp before the world junior championship.

    “These games are very important as an evaluation tool,” said Hockey Canada's head scout Ryan Jankowski. “Who raises their game and who stands out against international competition?”

    In the past Ho-Sang has been overlooked in the selection process and felt his omission was personal, rather than based on his play. This summer in an interview he called the fact he had never been invited to a world junior camp “insulting’’.

    On Tuesday afternoon, the first-round pick of the New York Islanders was far more tempered when talking about his Super Series invitation.

    “It’s a big opportunity and I’m really excited about it,” said Ho-Sang in a phone interview from Windsor.

  • Winterhawks' Jamie Kompon married to life as hockey coach

    Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    Like so many co-workers, Mike Johnston and Jamie Kompon carpooled to work. They lived in the same neighbourhood – roughly two kilometres apart – and took turns making the 20-minute commute to the Staples Center every game day for two years.

    The majority of their drive was spent talking hockey: about the Los Angeles Kings (the team they worked for), other teams, their players, other players, power plays, penalty kills, breakout plays, and anything else two assistant coaches could dissect in the car.

    “We’re both hockey fanatics,” said Kompon. “That’s what we eat, sleep, breathe for is hockey.”

    “We have the same outlook on the game, the same outlook on how the game should be played and how the game should be taught.”

    “We’re both teachers by trade,” said Kompon. “I was a teacher for five years, so we both have that background and we feel that’s very important for young players to have structure. If you want to get to the next level and you don’t have structure, it’s hard to break from a bad habit – even at the NHL level.”

    “For me it was an opportunity to be the boss and to run my own team,” said Kompon, who won the Stanley Cup with Los Angeles in 2012 and again with Chicago in 2013.

  • Ownership change can’t come soon enough for Lethbridge Hurricanes

    Sunaya Sapurji at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    There might be some respite in sight for long-suffering fans of the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

    At the team’s annual general meeting Tuesday night, the board of directors decided to put the sale of the community-run franchise up for a vote. Unfortunately, it’s a decision on the 2015 agenda, but better late than never.

    This news should give investors a year to secure funding and get their proposals and presentations in order. Last year Chicago Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg, a native of Lethbridge, penned a letter in the city’s local paper about his desire to buy the flagging franchise.

    “My heart is with this team, as many people in Lethbridge know,” wrote Versteeg, who played his junior hockey with the Hurricanes. “My partners and I 100 per cent guarantee that we would keep this team in Lethbridge. We want to make it a place for families and hockey fans to enjoy the game and have fun on a nightly basis.”

    One WHL general manager contacted by Yahoo Sports said he was told “flat-out” Duke was not available.

    “This year is over for them.”

  • All Betz are off for Erie in OHL season opener: the coast-to-coast

    Sunaya Sapurji at Buzzing The Net 2 mths ago

    Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...


    Today's Must Read: Former Moncton Wildcats forward Matt Eagles is in his second year of med school at Memorial University. He writes candidly about what it was like to suffer though concussions - which ultimately ended his his hockey career.

    "I did not want to admit to being concussed for fear I would be kept out the lineup. This fear was well founded." (CMAJ Blogs)

    Daniel Sprong and Filip Chlapik scored 1:07 apart for the Charlottetown Islanders to double down on the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the lone QMJHL game last night. (Recap)

    The Moncton Wildcats have acquired overage defenceman, Dominic Talbot-Tassi, from the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. The Cats sent a third round pick in 2016 in return for the fifth year veteran. (Moncton Wildcats)



  • Playboy party looking like a big bust for Sagueneens

    Sunaya Sapurji at Buzzing The Net 2 mths ago

    The Chicoutimi Sagueneens, like many other teams in the Canadian Hockey League, are trying to find a way to increase their fan base. Last season the Sagueneens saw their attendance decrease by roughly 7,000 fans.

    So what does a junior team comprised of teenage boys playing in a league that prides itself on family entertainment do? Well, if you’re Chicoutimi, you kick off the new season by inviting fans to a dance party with Playboy playmates.

    What exactly Playboy has to do with junior hockey in Chicoutimi, no one knows, but any publicity is good publicity, right?

    "The saying any publicity is good publicity may apply to pseudo-celebrities like the Kardashians, but it certainly does not apply to corporations or sports organizations," said Dr. Lilly Buchwitz , a professor of marketing at Humber College. "Scandals, arrests, and other bad publicity damages brands, sometimes so seriously that they never recover."

    She doesn't believe that in this instance however, the Sags will do irreparable damage to their brand. The event is scheduled for Saturday night after Chicoutimi’s regular season game against the Quebec Remparts.