Wednesday, January 10, 2007

 

Indigenous Men Make NHL All-Star "First Team"

Indigenous Men Named To Professional Hockey League
“All-Star Game” in Dallas


Cheechoo Named All-Star Starter January 9, 2007

The San Jose Sharks will have a third of the starters for the Western Conference in the 2007 NHL All-Star game in Dallas on January 24. Both Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo were selected by the fans in online balloting and will start on the "first string, first line" for the Western Team. It is another level of respect for Sharks hockey that the two were recognized by fans across North America and Europe. “For Cheech and I to be voted on by the fans, you tip your hat to them,” said Thornton. “You are either being selected by the fans or the coaches, so it's a good honor.” Thornton, whose three previous All-Star appearances were all with Boston, is making his first appearance as a Shark.
Cheechoo, who played in the NHL’s 2004 Young Stars Game, will be making his All-Star debut at the NHL level, although he did play in the 2001 AHL All-Star event. Cheechoo is an Indigenous Cree from Moose Factory, Ontario, CA and last year received the "Maurice 'Rocket' Richard" Trophy for most goals (Cheechoo had 56) scored by an NHL player during the season.“I knew I was in the running and my Coach, Ron Wilson told me I was in,” said Cheechoo. “It is a pretty neat feeling. You respect that the fans voted you into the All-Star Game. I’m just going to enjoy it and go have some fun.” Cheechoo knows he may have to come up with a few hard to come by tickets. “About seven (family members) were down for Christmas and 10 went to the NHL Awards Ceremony and that wasn’t even to watch hockey,” said Cheechoo. “I appreciate being with my teammates,” said Thornton. “This year it will be Cheech and probably Patty Marleau.” “It just shows how good our fans are and that we have Sharks fans all over - and there’s a lot of family,” laughed Marleau. “I definitely would want to go and be part of it. I think both Joe and Cheech deserve it.”
Cheechoo Highlights: 2005-06: Became the first Shark to win the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s annual goal-scoring leader (56)… Led the League in game-winning goals (11 — Sharks record), home-ice goals (31) and divisional goals (29) and T-2nd in power play goals (24 — Sharks record)...Received the PlayStation "Sharks Three Stars of the Year" Award…Named the Seagate Technology "Sharks Player of the Month" for November and January…First player to record five or more hat tricks in one season since Mario Lemieux had six in 1995-96. Only member of Moose Cree First Nations to sign an NHL contract...Father taught him how to skate when he was two...Hometown is located 500 miles north of Toronto on an island that’s roughly five square miles and sits in the Moose River at the southern tip of Hudson Bay...When he was 12, for a school assignment, he wrote that he wanted to play for the Sharks in 2002 (he received a Sharks jacket as a gift).

Jonathan Cheechoo website: http://www.sjsharks.com/team/player.asp?player_id=2

Souray’s in! Hard-shooting defenseman cracks All-Star Game starting lineup
MONTREAL – The people spoke and the NHL listened. Sheldon Souray will be packing his bags for the 55th annual NHL All-Star Game in Dallas on January 24 where he will be a starter on the Eastern Conference blue line.
Souray is an Indigenous “Metis First Nations” man from Elk Point, Alberta, CA
Thanks to a total of 534,647 votes, Souray will be making his second All-Star appearance, having also earned an invite in 2004. Souray joins Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin of the Capitals, and Buffalo’s Daniel Briere, Brian Campbell and Ryan Miller in the starting lineup for the East.
“To be recognized by the fans just makes it all the more special,” said Souray, the only Eastern starter with an All-Star game already under his belt. “I’m especially proud to get the chance to represent the Montreal Canadiens again. That means a lot.”
His coach couldn’t be happier for his power-play quarterback.
“I think is just awesome news for Sheldon and he’s earned it,” said head coach Guy Carbonneau. “If you ask guys like Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Ray Bourque, sure they would have enjoyed the extra few days off, but playing in an All-Star game is a great learning experience and a chance to play with the best players in the world.”
Once Souray hits the ice in Dallas he will also become the first defenseman to represent the Canadiens at multiple All-Star games since Chris Chelios skated on the Wales Conference blue line in both 1985 and 1990.
“This isn’t about me, it’s more about the team and the success we’ve had this year,” added Souray. “There’s a bunch of guys in this room who deserve to be going as well. This is a team thing and I’m going to share it with them because they’re a huge part of my success this year.”
That success has seen Souray explode for 14 goals to lead all NHL defensemen, leaving him only one shy of his career-high of 15 set in 2003-04.
In his NHL All-Star debut in 2004 in Minnesota, Souray picked up an assist on Ilya Kovalchuk’s insurance goal in the third period that helped seal a 6-4 win for the Eastern Conference. He also tied Adrian Aucoin in the hardest shot competition with a blast clocked at 102.2 mph.
That week, Souray openly admitted to thinking he would likely never again get the opportunity play in an All-Star game. He was wrong and Souray may have his No. 1 fan to thank for that.
“My mom has been sitting by her computer non-stop for the last little while, so maybe now she can finally get some sleep,” said Souray. “Who knows maybe she’s been voting all this time and ended up being the difference maker.”'

Sheldon Souray
Band/Nation: MetisPlace of Birth: Elk Point, Alberta Date of Birth: July 13, 1976 Current Team: Montreal Candiens, #44 Position: Defence Ht/Wt: 6'4", 226 lbs
Sheldon Souray website:
http://server2.canadiens.com/eng/team/redirect.cfm?sectionID=habsPlayer.cfm&playerID=28757


The current list of Indigenous professional hockey players in the National Hockey League (NHL) include:
Aaron AshamRene BourqueJonathan CheechooD.J. KingCody McCormickWade ReddenJamie RiversChris SimonSheldon SourayJordin TootooDarcy Tucker

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