Nova Scotia is home to roughly 940,000 people, proudly representing the East Coast of Canada. Something else Nova Scotians are known for? Our hockey talent, which is currently taking the NHL by storm. The name that every hockey fan knows well is “Captain Canada” or “Sid The Kid”, Sidney Crosby. Number 87 hails from Cole Harbour and is currently the captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Going first overall in the 2005 NHL Draft, he won a Stanley Cup in 2009, being the youngest captain to ever do so. He has won the Art Ross & Hart Memorial trophy twice, the Rocket Richard trophy once and has two Olympic gold medals under his belt, to name a few. Some call him “The Great One”, and he is only one of the few proud Nova Scotians to take the ice in the National Hockey League.
Another name fans know is another from Cole Harbour who is currently playing for the Colorado Avalanche, Nathan Mackinnon. Haligonians know him better than most, watching him play 136 games, scoring 87 goals, 127 assists and winning the President and Memorial Cups with the Mooseheads. Going first overall in every draft he has been in, Mackinnon was the youngest player to ever wear the Avalanche jersey and the youngest to win the Calder Memorial Trophy. In his first season he also accomplished beating one of Wayne Gretzkys records for longest point streak for an 18-year-old. Fans living in Cole Harbour may soon see Nathan Mackinnons name added with Sidney Crosbys name on their town welcome sign.
Boston Bruins LW and “little ball of hate”, Brad Marchand, who was also a former Moosehead, is from Halifax. He has played 370 NHL games and has 225 points so far in his career. He went in the third round of the 2006 draft and has his name on the Stanley Cup from the 2010-11 season. James Sheppard was drafted ninth overall in the same draft and now plays for the San Jose Sharks. Sheppard is from Lower Sackville and started his hockey career with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. Another name in the 2006 draft is Andrew Macdonald from Judique, a defenseman for the Phildelphia Flyers. Playing with the Moncton Wildcats, he went 160th overall to the New York Islanders. A year later, in the 2007 draft was Alex Grant from Antigonish. Alex played two NHL games with the Anaheim Ducks, had two goals, and is now playing with the Ottawa Senators AHL team. Zach Sill from Truro was never drafted to the NHL but played for the Moncton Wildcats and then the Wilkes-Barr AHL team and has played two games with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the current 2014-15 season.
Going a bit further in the NHL draft you will find Eric Bolton of Halifax, drafted in the 9th round of the 1994 draft to the New York Rangers. He has played for various teams including the Atlanta Thrashers and has played with the New York Islanders in the 2013-14 season. The most recent player to come to the NHL is Liam O’Brien from Halifax who signed with the Washington Capitals on October 6th, 2014. Playing two games so far this season, his journey was not an easy one. Being passed over in the NHL draft, he was in a wheelchair with an injury when the call from the Caps came to try out in their camp. He played 261 games in the QMJHL and his motivation and determination turned heads in the league and Nova Scotians are keeping a close eye on the new chapter of his career. Another worthy mention is LA Kings 2014 Stanley Cup winner Andrew Bodnarchuk. Born in Alberta but grew up and currently living in Hammonds Plains, he was a member of the Halifax Mooseheads and was called up to the Los Angeles roster the night they became champions.
Paul Maclean was born in France, but moved to Antigonish at the age of two. He has been the coach of the Ottawa Senators since 2011 with a 212-103-79 record in the 2013-14 season and won the Jack Adams award in 2013. He played seven seasons with the Winnipeg Jets and also played for the Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues. There has been roughly 68 NHL Alumni from Nova Scotia dating back to the 1920’s including popular names such as Al MacInnis, Cam Russell, Bobby Smith and Glen Murray. Nova Scotia has also had a strong history of AHL teams. The first team to ever play in Halifax was the NS Voyageurs, affiliate to the Montreal Canadiens. They were the first Canadian club to win the Calder Cup and they stayed in the city from 1971 to 1984, starting the trend of AHL teams in the Atlantic provinces. Halifax had two more teams after, The NS Oilers for the Edmonton Oilers, which was originally in Cape Breton, and The Halifax Citadels for the Quebec Nordiques.
Known as “Canadas Ocean Playground”, Nova Scotia is producing excellent hockey talent and it does not look like that to slow down any time soon. We take pride in being known as one of the birthplaces of hockey, dating all the way back to 1800 in Windsor. What we lack for in size, Nova Scotia makes up for in rivalling any province for the passion for hockey. Only time will tell which player will get their name engraved on the next NHL trophy, but in the meantime are making a name for themselves across the league with all the support behind them in the East Coast.
Sidney Crosby after winning his 2nd Olympic gold medal
Liam O’Brien with the Washington Capitals
Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins
Paul Maclean behind the bench for the Ottawa Senators