"That is something special and that is something that I would like to build towards for Team Ontario,"
Date: Nov, 05, 2018 01:50 AM EDT
ONTARIO - Earlier this year Jeff Jordan was named Head Coach of Team Ontario Men’s Hockey. Jordan, is the current head coach of both the Kemptville 73’s Jr. A (CCHL) and the Kemptville 73’s U18 AAA (HEO U18 AAA), a decorated HP1 and HP2 certified coach and boasts a glowing reputation in the hockey community.
Although this will be his first time leading the team, he is certainly no stranger to Team Ontario, having served diligently as Assistant Coach of the gold medal winning team from the 2015 Canada Winter Games.
We sat down to ask the newly-named Head Coach all about the upcoming Games, expectations for the team and the great opportunity ahead for the selected minor-midget players.
How do you hope the experience of already being through one successful Canada Winter Games will help this time around?
“It was certainly a wonderful opportunity to be a part of that team, but I think going through and having the experience of knowing what is ahead of us and knowing what it took to put the team together, what it took to compete, and what it took to overcome a few minor hurdles at the tournament - I think is going to help us. At least this time around nothing is really going to be as new as it was last time and will be more familiar, and that should be easier in terms of logistics and decision making and all of that type of stuff.
Nothing outweighs experience and I am really happy that I had it and am very fortunate for the opportunity to lead this team.”
What vision do you have for Team Ontario?
“Well that is a good question, we certainly have big shoes to fill from four years ago, but with that said this is a new team that will be completely different.We don’t know what the make of the team will be, its going to be several months of scouting.
The goal is to bring a group of guys together, turn them into a brotherhood over a course of a week and go to battle for our province, and if we prepare the way that we did four years ago - with the proper attention to detail, with the right type of characters in our dressing room - the results will take care of themselves.”
In terms of opportunity, what does participating in the Canada Winter Games provide the players?
“This is such an exceptional exposure opportunity. It takes place before their draft in the Ontario Hockey League and I recall four years ago I sat behind a couple of OHL General Manager’s on the flight out there and everyone is under the spotlight. . What that does is it shows those teams and scouts a player’s ability to elevate their play in heightened competition which only bodes well for all players that are involved in the tournament.
In addition to that, when you look over the history of Canada Winter Games and some of the players that have worn the Team Ontario jersey it’s pretty cool for the kids to think about. Players like Steven Stamkos and Max Domi are some of the guys who have worn the jersey before them and now they have the honour to do that. So yes, there are a number of ways that it is special for the players , but putting the jersey on for the first time is going to be pretty cool.”
You mentioned character, what type of character are you looking for in players representing Team Ontario?
“Well they have to be team-first guys, and that is sometimes a struggle in short-term competitions like this. When you deal with the top players on their respective teams and then all of a sudden they have to come into a team where they are not necessarily the top guy and perhaps have to perform a different role, you know that is a big challenge, but if you have a player with a good character who doesn’t put himself in front of the team - who puts the team first and embraces that mentality - and you have that from top to bottom, that is something special and that is something that I would like to build towards for Team Ontario.”
Players will continue to be evaluated throughout the start of the 2018-19 season with the final team being named in early January. Prior to departing for the tournament, a camp will take place with all team members in Toronto.
About Team Ontario - Team Ontario consists of the top U-16 hockey players from across the province. In the last 13 Canadian Winter Games, Team Ontario has earned five gold medals, one silver medals and two bronze medals, including the defending champion from the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, BC, having defeated Team Alberta in the Gold Medal Game. This team included current OHL standouts Nick Suzuki, Owen Tippett and Michael DiPietro.
About the 2019 Canada Winter Games – From February 15 until March 3, 2019, the eyes of the nation will be on Red Deer, Alberta as they host the 2019 Canada Winter Games - the largest multi-sport and cultural event for youth in Canada and the largest event to be hosted in Red Deer’s history. Featuring over 150 events in 19 sports and a major arts and cultural festival, the 2019 Canada Winter Games will welcome up to 3,600 athletes, managers and coaches and more than 100,000 spectators, with a forecasted economic impact of over $132 million. The 27th edition of the Canada Games, the 2019 Games is set to provide a stage for Canada’s next generation of national, international and Olympic champions to compete and will leave a legacy for athletic and leadership greatness in Red Deer. For more information on the 2019 Games, please visit: canadagames.ca/2019.