22 The Chronicle February 13 - 19, 2018 chronicle.durhamcollege.ca Sports Photograph by Cameron Black-Araujo Durham's Jennifer Johnson is looking to give younger generations of girls a chance to grow the game after a successful lacrosse career of her own. Growing girls lacrosse This is one story in a series profiling people who have made an impact on Durham Jennifer Johnson returns with young lacrosse players in mind Cameron Black-Araujo The Chronicle After playing in four years of NCAA lacrosse, three World Cups and the first-ever professional women’s lacrosse game, Jennifer Johnson, 40, is back in the Durham Region trying to give another generation of lacrosse players the same opportunity. Johnson grew up in Brooklin where her love for lacrosse came to fruition through her older brother, Joel, at the age of 12. There was no girl’s lacrosse at the time, which forced Johnson to grow up playing mostly with boys. She says it helped her set her up for a lifetime full of lacrosse. Johnson says she enjoyed playing with the boys because it taught her how to compete and push herself to a new level. But despite her passion for boy’s box lacrosse, she wanted a scholarship in girl’s field lacrosse. “At first, I didn't like girls field lacrosse when I started playing at age 15. I knew that the opportunity for me was in girl’s field lacrosse so I gave it time and grew to love it,” says Johnson. I am trying to help give back to the sport that has given me so much. She says it doesn’t have the physicality of the box game, but it is still a fast-paced sport and requires really good hands to excel. After graduating from Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute, Johnson received a scholarship to play lacrosse at Penn State University. She was captain of the team in her final season and left Penn State ranking top ten in all-time goals, assists and points. Johnson then began her coaching career as an assistant at the University of Connecticut, Cornell and again at Penn State. These assistant coaching jobs helped her land her first head coach job at the University of Vermont where she spent 12 years until 2016. Recently, she returned to Durham Region with her family. This summer and fall, she helped coach a new Durham-based U15 girl’s lacrosse team, called Team 51. While the team practices in Durham, it competes in tournaments in the U.S. because she says it exposes the players to NCAA coaches, which helps with recruiting. Johnson also spends her time at The Barn-Elite Performance Centre in Oshawa where she trains lacrosse players as well. Whether she is getting paid or just volunteering, she is mentoring young lacrosse players in the community year round. “By helping coach Team 51 and with The Barn development programs and leagues I am trying to help give back to the sport that has given me so much,” says Johnson. “Going on a scholarship to the U.S. opened up so many doors for me so I would like to help others pursue the same opportunities.” While Johnson spends much of her time training and coaching, she will have to make time to coach her two boys. She bought the two-year-old twins their first lacrosse sticks this summer and says they already love it. Despite their interest in hockey as well, Johnson hopes lacrosse will remain the main sport around the house.
Sports chronicle.durhamcollege.ca February 13 - 19, 2018 The Chronicle 23 A day with the champs After 125 years, the Stanley Cup has a few stories to share Conner McTague The Chronicle From serving as a failed buoy in Mario Lemieux’s pool to the soap dish in Steve Yzerman’s shower, the Stanley Cup has been on numerous adventures, both charitable and downright interesting, since it was first awarded to the NHL playoff champions in 1893. One of those stops is Durham College as it appeared with its keeper and DC alum Phil Pritchard on Jan. 8 in the Pit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ontario Colleges. It also made a stop at the Whitby Campus in the student lounge. All members of the organization who win the Stanley Cup are given their own personal day with lord Stanley during the summer and they’re free to spend it how they want, and with so little time with the cup, everybody wants to make the most of it. When the Chicago Blackhawks won it all in 2010, forward Patrick Kane took the cup to the U.S. side of Niagara Falls, as he’s a native of Buffalo, N.Y. and raised the cup over his head under the falls. Later in the day, he and the cup ended up stranded in the bucket of a fire truck ladder after the motor stopped working, according to NHL.com. When the Ottawa Silver Seven won it in 1905, forward Harry The Durham Lord posing with the Stanley Cup while it appeared at DC on Jan. 8 in the Pit. Smith famously punted the trophy into the Rideau Canal on a dare and forgot to retrieve it after. He had to come back the next day and get the cup. The cup isn’t only a domestic hit, it’s also had its fair share of experiences around the world. “We’ve been to 25 countries, but never below the equator, so far,” said Pritchard. Lord Stanley has been to “sauna parties in Finland, rock climbing in North America, we’ve been on the Asia/European border and brought it to Afghanistan for the troops,” added Pritchard. While it seems like all fun and games when people have their days with the cup, there are many players/coaches/front office personnel who take it as an opportunity to give back to the community. Pritchard said one of the days with the cup which stands out most to him is Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel’s day in 2016. Kessel has been critical during the Penguins back-to-back cup victories, recording 45 points in 49 playoff games. He is second in league scoring this season, with 65 points in 55 games. He also has 194 points in 219 regular season games with the Pens. He took the cup to Sick Kids hospital in Toronto, allowing kids facing life-threatening illness to witness a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Kessel is a cancer survivor himself. He battled testicular cancer while with the Boston Bruins Photograph by Conner McTague in 2006 at just 19-years-old. “When Phil was in Toronto, he used to visit Sick Kids all the time and he told them if he ever won the cup, he’d spend it with them, and he did,” Pritchard said. He added while Kessel never thought he’d be with a different team, he still fulfilled his promise and brought the cup to Sick Kids. “It was so special because he spent so much time with each kid individually,” he said. “That’s what it’s about, and Phil, he gets it.” McCool is back at home in Oshawa In his last year of junior hockey, he's living his dream with the Gens Cameron Black-Araujo The Chronicle Many young hockey players around Oshawa grow up with dreams of one day playing for the Oshawa Generals, but very few get to live out that dream. In his final year on his third OHL team, Generals forward Hayden McCool, 20, is finally doing just that. When the 20-year-old was drafted sixth overall by the Niagara Ice Dogs in 2013, the last place he expected to finish his junior career was with his hometown team. “It was almost like a dream come true for me,” says McCool. “I always watched them growing up and I never thought I’d be able to play for them.” After a disappointing rookie season in Niagara, McCool was traded to the Windsor Spitfires during the 2014-2015 season in a blockbuster trade for current New York Islanders forward, Josh Ho-Sang. He got back on track in Windsor with 64 points in his first season and a half with the team. The highlight of his junior career came last year when Windsor won the Memorial Cup on home ice.“To be able to win is hard,” says McCool. “We had a special group of guys and to be able to do something like that, you’ll never forget it the rest of your life.” With the Memorial Cup off his bucket list and only one season remaining in his junior career, there was one final thing he wanted to experience for himself: how it feels to step on the Tribute Communities Centre ice donning the Generals’ red, white and blue. To do so, he asked Spitfires’ management this past summer to trade him closer to home and on Oct. 17, 2017, the trade request was granted and McCool was finally a General. It took just three months for the team to develop enough trust in the 6-foot-3 centre, naming him an assistant captain by January. McCool didn’t have much exposure growing up playing for his small town Newcastle Stars. During his time in there, Mc- Cool led the team to a Novice provincial championship while playing with kids one year older than him. One of his coaches, Scott Turner, remembers a time McCool got special permission to play for the house league team in a tournament just so they could field a team. “The team had not won a game all year and they won a game or two in the tournament, that I remember,” he says. “It’s the first game they won that I remember so vividly, only because every kid in the room was so excited and relieved.” McCool left Newcastle in pursuit of better competition and joined the Clarington Toros AAA program for his Minor Peewee season. After making a name for himself and drawing in some scouts along the way, McCool joined the Whitby Wildcats AAA team for his final minor season where he led the team in points and lost in the gold medal game at the provincial championships. Playing minor hockey for three different teams in Durham Region, McCool was more than thrilled to add one more to that list, but for reasons beyond hockey. “Five hours to Windsor was a little far and I made my family do that for three years,” he says. “To be able to come here helps them out. Living at home I get to see my little brother every day, my mom cooks my dinner and I get to sleep in my own bed every night.” With limited time left in junior hockey, McCool is now looking to the future. He has attended NHL camps with the Blackhawks, Canadiens, and Blues, and hopes for another chance at pro hockey after this season. No matter where McCool’s hockey career takes him, this past season has shown him that despite not lighting up the stat sheet, he is more than happy with his OHL experience. “Winning the Memorial Cup and then playing for my hometown team, those are two really special things,” he says. “Not many people get to play here, we’re pretty blessed to play in the OHL every day.”