From backyard rink to the NHL: Jesse Winchester devenus Ce qu’ils sont become What they have

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challenges at every level along the way so it’s hard to pinpoint one specifically. Like most NHL ’ ers, I’ve dealt with my fair share of injuries along the way, and overcoming themeach time is certainly challenging, but it makes you stronger. ” Although he’s become somewhat of a local celebrity, Winchester still calls the area home. “I reside in Summerstown during the off season, so I’m close by for most of the summer,” he said. “My wife Alana also grew up in the area so we always look forward to getting home after our season ends. ” So what does a professional hockey player have to say to younger kids when it comes to the sport? “The best advice I can give to someone is predicated on a simple mantra that my parents left me with each day when they would dropme off at the rink. I’ve heard it thousands of times but it was always the same: ‘work hard, and have fun’. It’s so fitting because, really, in order tomake it, you have to be prepared to go to greater lengths than everyone else, and you have to love that part of it. What I mean by that is that there are so many amazing hockey players around the world, the business of hockey is so ultra competitive, and the rigours of the game take a toll on you both physically and mentally. The players who make it are the ones who can find fun in the sacrifices and pain that it takes to not only get there, but stay there. ”


Growing up, all Jesse Winchester ever wanted to do was play hockey for the Montreal Canadiens. The toweringman now enjoys a National Hockey League (NHL) career, with the Colorado Avalanche. Before that, he was part of the Ottawa Senators for five seasons be- foremaking his way to the Florida Panthers, where he played one season. Winchester recalls his earlier days, when he was still a youth. “My bedroom was a Habs shrine,” he explained. “It was decorated with a Habs border, a poster of my favourite player, Patrick Roy, who later became my coach in Colorado, and a Habs banner that I pinned right above my bed so that it was the first thing I’d see when I ’ d wake up. ” To the then resident of Long Sault, hockey was much more than a hobby. “ My dad would build a rink each winter for my broth- ers and me,” he said. “Some of my fondest memories are of skating out there bymyself at night, under a sky full of stars, trying to negotiate a few extra minutes before being forced inside to go to bed. ” When asked if he could identify what was the main challenge he faced becom- ing a professional athlete, he ponders for some time, before answering; “There were


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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

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