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Overlooked by major junior clubs and undrafted, Adam Oates showed the hockey world that going unnoticed doesn’t always mean the end of a career. The hardworking forward from Toronto, Ontario would go on to become one of the most prolific playmakers in NHL history. After a successful run in the NCAA, the undrafted centre signed the richest rookie contract in league history (at the time) with the Detroit Red Wings in 1985. Following short run in Detroit, a heartbroken Oates was traded to the St. Louis Blues. The trade proved magical for the St. Louis Blues as Oates came into his own as a player who was always one or two steps ahead of the game. Paired up with Brett Hull, the duo dubbed “Hull and Oates” put up some serious numbers in their two and a half seasons together and they are remembered as one of the most remarkable offensive pairs on the ice.
A gifted player who loved to pass the puck, Hull has often said that Oates loved to setup a goal more than scoring one. Oates’ gentlemanly conduct on the ice can be attributed to his father who taught him the importance of sportsmanship and winning over your teammates (he is a 6 time winner of the Lady Byng). The way that Oates played elevated the game of guys around him like Peter Bondra, Brett Hull and Cam Neely. He is the only player in history to centre three 50-goal scorers. After 19 seasons, 1,337 NHL games and 1,079 assists, Adam retired from playing professional hockey.
Following his retirement, he moved behind the bench and coached the Tampa Bay Lightning, the New Jersey Devils and the Washington Capitals. In 2012, Oates was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and named one of the NHL’s 100 Greatest Players in 2017. Adam frequently uses his notoriety to support events across North America to raise funds for countless charities. Never one to stray too far from the game, Adam is currently a skills consultant for several elite players in the NHL.
“You eat and sleep it all day long and play on the streets until Mom calls you in. My story is no different than anybody else’s.” – Adam Oates
Booking suggestions: golf, hockey, speaking engagements
Bernie Federko grew up playing hockey in Foam Lake, Saskatchewan. He joined the Saskatoon Blades in 1973 and quickly gained attention for his consistent and unselfish playing style. He began his junior career with the Saskatoon Blades and quickly gained attention for his on-ice accomplishments. Federko earned the WCHL Most Valuable Player and a spot on the First All-Star team. Federko also led the league with 45 playoff points, a performance that sits forth all-time for points in a single postseason. In 1976 he was drafted 7th overall by the St. Louis Blues. Federko led the Blues in scoring nine times and was the first player in NHL history to record 50+ assists in 10 consecutive seasons. He is only the 4th player in St. Louis Blues history to have his number retired by the team after having spent 13 of his 14 NHL seasons with the team. During his career he registered 1,130 points (becoming the 22nd person in NHL history to reach the 1,000 point barrier). In 2002, Bernie was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
The native of Carlyle, Saskatchewan’s first on ice experience was figure skating and he probably would have laughed if you told him he would be an NHL superstar one day. Luckily, figure skating didn’t stick and he made the move over to hockey. Following impressive Bantam seasons, Brendan walked on to the WHL Portland Winterhawks where he grew into an offensively standout player. The NHL took notice and Morrow was drafted 25th overall by the Dallas Stars in the 1997 Draft. He was driving force in helping the Winterhawks capture the Memorial Cup in 1998 and was named to the WHL Western Conference First All Star Team along with the CHL Third All Star Team in 1999.
Morrow started his first season with the Dallas Stars in 1999 and was named the Stars’ Rookie of the Year. By his sophomore year, Morrow was a regular in the line-up and his gritty physical playing style made opponents take note. Prior to the 2007 season, Morrow was named Captain of the Dallas Stars. Former teammate Marty Turco noted that Brenden was the kind of “sparkplug” that every team dreamed of having. Morrow appeared in an impressive 118 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff games and registered 46 points. During Morrow’s career, he also represented Canada internationally several times. He is an Olympic gold medal winner, a World Cup of Hockey gold medal winner and a World Championship gold medal winner. Following 15 seasons in the NHL, Morrow announced signed a one-day commemorative deal and retired with the Dallas Stars.
Brenden continues to call Dallas home along with his wife Anna-Marie and their three children. He is an active supporter of the Dallas Stars Alumni Association charitable causes and regularly appears at local fundraisers across North America.
“Winning a gold medal for Canada at the Olympic Games and appearing in two Stanley Cup Final series are things that I only dreamed of growing up. Getting to perform on those stages is still surreal to me.” – Brenden Morrow
Booking suggestions: golf, fishing, speaking engagements, hockey, hosting, charity appearances
Brayden Schenn grew up playing hockey in his hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In the 2006 WHL Bantam Draft, Schenn was selected 9th overall in the first round by the Brandon Wheat Kings. He closed his final season with 70 points in just 41 games for the Midget AAA Saskatoon Contacts. In 2007, Brayden made his debut with the Wheat Kings and quickly rose to the ranks of top scorer for the team and top rookie scorer in the WHL with 28 goals and 43 assists. He was awarded the Jim Pigott Memorial Trophy for WHL Rookie of the Year and earned a spot on the CHL All-Rookie Team. He also snagged the WHL’s Fan Choice award for the 2007-08 season. In his sophomore year, Schenn led the team again in scoring and finished the season with 85 points in 69 games. He was also named to the WHL East Conference Second All-Star Team and played in the CHL Top Prospects game.
Prior to the 2009 draft, Schenn was listed as one of the highest prospects in the WHL and was drafted fifth overall by the LA Kings. He returned to the Wheat Kings for the 2009-10 season as Captain and notched 34 goals and 65 assists in 59 games and was named to the WHL East First All-Star Team. In 2010-11, Schenn spent time with the LA Kings and their farm team in the AHL, he was returned to the Brandon Wheat Kings in the middle of the season and was dealt to the Saskatoon Blades. He closed out his WHL career with his hometown Saskatoon Blades and was named to the WHL East Conference Second All-Star Team despite only playing half the season in the WHL. In 2011, Schenn was traded from the LA Kings to the Philadelphia Flyers. After receiving an injury in the 2011-12 training camp, Schenn was sent to their AHL team, the Androniak Phantoms. Schenn joined the Flyers full time in 2012. In 2016, he was signed to a four year contract with the Flyers. In the summer of 2017, Schenn was traded to the St. Louis Blues.
Schenn has represented Canada several times on the international stage. He has won a gold and silver medal in World Championships as well as two silver medals in World Junior Championships. He is actively supports several charity initiatives throughout the year.
Growing up under the shadow of a legendary hockey player for a father is no easy feat but Brett Hull knew that rather than let it define him, he would add to the infamy of his famous last name with his own mark on the game. Brett was born in Belleville, Ontario and spent most of his youth in Illinois while his father played with the Chicago Blackhawks. In 1982, Brett joined the Penticton Knights of the BCJHL and scored 48 goals in 50 games his first season. By 1983, NHL teams were begun to take notice of the talented goal scorer and he was officially drafted by the Calgary Flames in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft. Following the draft, Hull accepted a scholarship to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for the 1984-1985 season. He quickly gained a reputation for his scoring abilities by earning most goals scored by a rookie his first season and breaking the record for most goals scored by any player in his second. After two years in the NCAA, Brett joined the Calgary Flames in time for their Stanley Cup run in 1986. After a short taste of the NHL, he was sent to the AHL Moncton Golden Flames to continue honing his skill. During his time with the Golden Flames, he tied an AHL record for most rookie goals (50), won rookie of the year and was named to the first all-star team.
In 1987, Hull joined the Calgary Flames full time and scored 50 points in just 52 games. His brief tenure as a Flame ended in 1988 when he was traded to the St. Louis Blues. In his first season with the Blues, Hull cemented his status as a leading goal scorer with 41 goals and was awarded the Lady Byng Trophy. The chemistry with linemate Adam Oates was undeniable and in their three seasons together, they notched more than 220 goals and Hull joined an elite class of NHLers who have scored 50 goals in 50 games. After 11 seasons with the Blues, Hull joined the Dallas Stars in 1998. During his tenure with the Stars, Hull went on to score his 1000th career point and win a Stanley Cup. In 2002, Hull won a Silver Medal at the Olympic games with Team USA and the Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings. He is the second fastest player to reach 700 goals and scored an impressive 33 hat tricks during his career. In 2005, Brett announced his retirement after 19 seasons in the NHL.
Hull was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008 and joined the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2009. His post-playing career has continued to follow hockey with television analyst roles and management positions with both the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues. Hull lives in St. Louis with his wife Darcie and is an active member of the Blues Alumni Association. He is also a skilled golfer and was ranked the sixth best athlete golfer by Golf Digest magazine in 2009. In 2017, his hockey career came full circle when he and his father were named to the NHL 100 Greatest Player’s list. Hull regularly makes charity appearances across North America throughout the year and remains a passionate advocate for the game of hockey.
“Losing is essential to anyone’s success. The more you lose, the more you want to win.” – Brett Hull
Booking suggestions: golf, fishing, speaking engagements, hockey, hosting, charity appearances
From Hamilton, Ontario, Brian McGrattan played five seasons in the OHL and was selected 104th overall in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft by the Los Angeles Kings. Following a knee injury, McGrattan eventually signed with the Ottawa Senators in 2002 and spent three seasons with their AHL affiliate, the Binghamton Senators. During the 2004-05 season, McGrattan set the AHL single-season record for penalty minutes. After establishing himself as a dominant enforcer in the AHL, the Ottawa Senators offered him a roster spot during the 2005-06 season. Following his tenure with the Senators, McGrattan signed with the Arizona Coyotes and voluntarily entered the NHL’s substance abuse program after three games. After successfully completing his rehab program, McGrattan signed as a free agent with the Calgary Flames where he made a lasting impact with the organization. McGrattan went on to play with the Boston Bruins, Anaheim Ducks, and a second stint as a member of the Calgary Flames. He closed out his professional hockey career in 2017 after a season with the Nottingham Panthers. Later that year, McGrattan joined the Calgary Flames as a member of the player development staff where he offers on and off-ice support to players as well as prospects.
Brian was recently featured in Ice Guardians, a documentary looking at the role of enforcers in the NHL. He continues to be open about his path to sobriety and is a respected friend and mentor to those dealing with the challenges of substance abuse both inside and outside of the NHL. He spends much of his free time publicly speaking about battling addictions as well as advocating for underprivileged children.
Booking suggestions: golf, fishing, corporate hosting, charity appearances, motivational speaking, youth events
Arguably one of the most famous players to come out of the Brandon Wheat Kings, Brian Propp still sits among the 10 best regular season performances in WHL history. Born in Lanigan, Saskatchewan, Propp began his junior career with the Melville Millionaires and broke the league scoring record with 75 goals and 92 assists in 57 games. After moving to the Brandon Wheat Kings, Propp lead the league in scoring twice and was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1979. His NHL career spanned 15 years, 11 of those were spent with the Philadelphia Flyers. Propp retired with 1004 points in 1016 regular season games.
Booking suggestions: speaking engagements, hosting, charity appearances, motivational speaking
From the stuff of legends, Bryan Trottier learned to skate and play hockey on a pond that his father flooded each winter from a busted beaver dam in Val Marie, Saskatchewan. Perhaps it was skating over the uneven surface or frozen dead animals but Bryan developed a style all his own and a particular smoothness with the puck. He spent his junior career playing for the Swift Current Broncos and the Lethbridge Broncos and was named the MVP of the Western Canada Hockey League in the 1974-1975 season. It should be mentioned that if it weren’t for Tiger Williams dragging him back to hockey and teaching him how to fight, Bryan might never have went on to play professional hockey. Luckily though, he did and he was drafted by the New York Islanders in the 1974 NHL Entry Draft and joined the team for the 1975-1976 season.
The natural born centre came out flying his rookie year and set the NHL rookie record of 95 points (at the time). He also took home the coveted Calder Memorial Trophy that season. The following year, Bryan finished second in scoring to Guy Lafleur with 123 points. In the 1978-1979 season, he finished first overall in scoring and won both the Art Ross and the Hart Memorial Trophy. In his 15 seasons with the New York Islanders, he won four Stanley Cups and a Conn Symth Trophy. He left the Islanders in 1990 and joined the Pittsburg Penguins in an effort to teach the young team featuring Mario Lemieux what it takes to win a cup. The move proved successful as he went on to capture his fifth and sixth Stanley Cup’s with the Penguins. He battled every single shift and was an ever-evolving player throughout his career. After 18 seasons in the NHL, countless broken records and nearly 1300 games, Trottier retired from playing professional hockey.
In his post retirement years, Bryan held roles with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers, and the Buffalo Sabres. He also added his seventh Stanley Cup win with the Colorado Avalanche in 2001 as an Assistant Coach. In 1997, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and is currently the only Saskatchewan-born player to win six Stanley Cups. He is attached to countless fundraisers and charities and continues to be a terrific ambassador for the game. Bryan takes a special interest in coaching aboriginal youth by encouraging them to take pride in their aboriginal heritage and make positive choices. In 2017, Trottier was named to the NHL 100 Greatest players list.
“Every day at the rink is a good day, no matter what.” – Bryan Trottier
Booking suggestions: speaking engagements, hosting, charity appearances, youth hockey camps, motivational speaking
Born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Gillies earned his tough but offensively skilled reputation playing with the Regina Pats. In the 1973-74 season, Gillies helped the Pats capture the Memorial Cup and was drafted forth overall by the New York Islanders. Gillies is one of the few hockey players who transitioned directly from junior into the NHL without ever playing a minor professional game. Gillies would go on to score more than 30 regular season goals six times and won four Stanley Cups. The New York Islanders retired his jersey in 1996 and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2002.
There is never a dull moment with Colby Armstrong around. The native of Lloydminster, Saskatchewan has a reputation for being a bit of a prankster but also a great teammate and friend. After four seasons with the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL, Colby was the selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round of the 2001 NHL Draft. After three seasons with the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, Armstrong made his NHL debut in 2005. The right-winger had a standout rookie year and tallied 40 points in just 47 games. In 2007, Armstrong had the opportunity to play for Canada in the IIHF World Championships where he scored the game-winning goal in the gold medal match against Finland.
After 7 seasons in the NHL and appearances with the Penguins, Thrashers, Maple Leafs and the Canadiens, Colby retired from professional hockey. Following his retirement, Colby made Pittsburgh home and entered a new chapter of his career. Leveraging his outgoing personality and hockey smarts, Colby became a hockey analyst for Sportsnet in 2014 and covers home broadcasts for Root Sports in Pittsburgh. While the transition from player to television didn’t surprise any of Colby’s former teammates, he will be the first one to admit that it came with a huge learning curve and still does. All challenges aside, Colby is grateful to stay involved with the game he loves.
Colby is a regular at charity events especially those benefitting children like Camp Trillium and WHL Ride For The Kids. He is the current ambassador for Hockey Night in Canada Play On!
“Half Clapper. Top Cheddar.” – Colby Armstrong
Booking suggestions: golf, fishing, speaking engagements, hockey, hosting, charity appearances
Though born in Thompson, Manitoba, Curtis Leschyshyn was raised in the small town of Langham, Saskatchewan. It was there where Curtis and his brother spent countless hours at the local arena, honing their skills and refereeing games for extra pocket money. As Leschyshyn grew up, the Saskatoon Blades took notice of the quiet but hardworking forward and placed him on their protection list at age seventeen. He impressed the Blades during his first training camp and at the request of the Blades coaching staff, Curtis switched from left wing to defense. He was drafted third overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft after two years with the Saskatoon Blades.
Leschyshyn spent eight years with the Quebec Nordiques and moved with the team when they relocated to Colorado for the 1995-96 season and captured the Stanley Cup during their inaugural season. Following the Cup win, Curtis was traded to Washington and then settled in Carolina for four seasons. Leschyshyn played briefly with the Minnesota Wild during 2000-01 season before moving to Ottawa and closing out the rest of his professional hockey career with the Senators at the end of 2004. He signed back with the Colorado for the 2005 season but retired before the beginning of the season. Curtis played an impressive 1033 regular NHL games, 68 NHL playoff games and represented Canada on the international stage in the 1990 World Championships. Following his retirement, Curtis served as a colour commentator for the Avalanche radio broadcasting team for two years and then returned to Saskatchewan to spend more time with his family.
Upon his return to Saskatchewan, Curtis served as an assistant coach for the Saskatchewan Blades, head coach for the Saskatoon Blazers and assistant coach for the Saskatoon Stars. Leschyshyn, an avid rodeo fan raises competitive bulls and has worked to establish himself as a bull-riding judge. Curtis is a huge supporter of charities like the WHL Ride For The Kids, Shooting Stars Foundation, Driving Fore Prostate Charity Golf Classic, Garth Brooks Teammates For Kids Foundation and countless others across the country.
“Chase your dreams. If you want to do something by all means try. Give whatever effort and time you have and give it 100 per cent, and you never know where that will take you. It’s a lot of hard work and dedication and commitment, but I was able to accomplish a goal that was once just a dream.” – Curtis Leschyshyn
A native of Saskatoon, Eric Gryba joined the throng of NHL players born and raised in Saskatchewan. In Gryba’s early years, he played with the Saskatoon Contacts in the SMHL and moved on to the Melfort Mustangs in the SJHL for a year. In 2006, Gryba attended Boston University and played NCAA Division 1 hockey with Boston Terriers. During his tenure with the Terriers, they were able to capture the NCAA title. Late in the season of March 2010, Gryba signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Ottawa Senators. He later signed a two-year contract extension with the Senators in 2014.
In June 2015, Eric was traded to the Edmonton Oilers and appeared in 53 games for the team. The Oilers decided not to re-sign Gryba following the season and he entered free agency. In 2016, he attended the Oiler’s camp on a professional tryout and was offered a one-year, two-way contract. He appeared in 40 regular games and three playoff games, earning the respect of the Oiler’s organization, who offered him a two-year contract in the summer of 2017.
Gryba is passionate about charities like the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation and uses his celebrity to raise funds for the organization. In 2017, Gryba helped raised over $20,000 for offering to shave his beard and helped garner media attention for the Foundation. He also supports the Royal University Hospital Foundation in Saskatoon by through their Celebrity Golf Classic that raises fund for the critical services they provide to residents from across the province. During the season, he also drops by the Ronald McDonald House in Edmonton to visit sick children and their families with his Oiler’s teammates. Gryba is a dedicated outdoorsman and an avid hunter, he is also the co-founder of Capital Waterfowling, a company that manufactures and distributes duck and goose calls.
Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Garth Butcher paved his way to the NHL by gaining a reputation for being a scrappy defenceman who would stand up to anyone. Butcher spent one year playing in the SJHL playing for the Regina Blues and moved up to the Regina Pats at age 16, making him the youngest player in Pat’s history. Over the next two seasons, Butcher tailed 178 points and 500 penalty minutes with the Pats making him the number one prospect in the WHL for the 1981 Entry Draft. He was selected 10th overall by the Vancouver Canucks. In 1982, Butcher was named to the Canadian Junior team and was a major piece to the team’s successful defense core that only allowed 14 goals against in seven games. The team finished in 1st place and it has remained one of the most thrilling moments in Butcher’s hockey career.
Following the World Junior Championships, Butcher began to receive call-ups from the Vancouver Canucks and snagged a full time gig with them in 1985. In his time with the Canucks, he played 610 games and had the club record for most penalty minutes (1668 minutes). Following his retirement, the team honoured him with the sixth spot on their list of the 50 Greatest Canucks of all time. In 1991, Butcher was part of a controversial trade that sent him to the St. Louis Blues. The Blues named him Team Captain and he spent the next three seasons with the club, earning over 500 penalty minutes and 46 points. Partway through the 1993-94 season, Butcher was traded to the Quebec Nordiques followed by a move to the Toronto Maple Leafs. At age 32, Garth Butcher retired from professional hockey.
Following retirement, Butcher moved to Bellingham, Washington where he lives with his family. He is a successful businessman with restaurants in Mississauga, Ontario as well as a liquor store and bar in Kamloops, British Columbia. Butcher remains active in charitable pursuits with organizations like Hockey Helps the Homeless or Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer. He is also an active member of both the Vancouver Canucks and St Louis Blues alumni associations.
Like any boy growing up in Saskatchewan, Glen Gulutzan wanted to play in the NHL. In 1986, the native of small town Hudson Bay moved to Moose Jaw to play in the WHL. After two seasons with the Warriors, he spent the next two years with the Brandon Wheat Kings. During his final year in the WHL, Gulutzan captained the Saskatoon Blades and began his education degree at University of Saskatchewan. After going undrafted, Gulutzan shifted his focus back on earning his degree and played varsity hockey for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. Following his time with the Huskies, Gulutzan played pro minor hockey in the United States and Finland.
During his last year with the Fresno Falcons in the WCHL, the hockey smart centre made the transition from player to coach. Gulutzan became the first head coach and manager of the Las Vegas Wranglers in the ECHL in 2003 and is credited with helping build the organization. The team made five playoff appearances under his leadership and Gulutzan was named ECHL Coach of the Year in 2005-2006. He also coached three ECHL All-Star Games, tying the league record for most appearances by a coach. After six years coaching the Wranglers, Glen was named head coach of the newly formed Texas Stars in the AHL in 2009. The team made the Calder Cup final in their first year but lost in the first round. His pro minor coaching career would see him post an impressive seven post-season appearances in just eight seasons. As his two-year contract came to a close with the Texas Stars, an opportunity to take over the head coach position of the Dallas Stars came knocking in 2011. Gulutzan credits his first two seasons as head coach with Dallas Stars as huge learning opportunity and an introduction into the way the NHL works. In 2013, Gulutzan was let go by Dallas but quickly picked up the Vancouver Canucks who saw him as a great fit for the Assistant Coach position. Glen spent the next three seasons relishing in the opportunity to learn from someone else and expand on his coaching connections and knowledge in the NHL.
In 2016, Glen Gulutzan was named head coach of the Calgary Flames. After a challenging start, Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving credited Gulutzan with the team’s ability to turn their season around in a short period of time and make a post-season appearance. Wherever Glen goes, he is sure to make an impact in the community, he is happy to lend his name to charity events like the Fish for Kids Tournament or Driving Fore Prostate Golf Classic among countless others. He also serves as program director for a children’s summer hockey school back in his hometown of Hudson Bay.
“I know that if I’m working hard as a coach to develop players, then it’s going to develop me as well. Winning is the goal, but it all works together and I don’t think you can get caught up on just the winning side of it. There’s only one team that’s going to win the Stanley Cup every year but the coaches that are committed to trying to get their players better, they’ll have good teams and they’ll get to where they want to go.” – Glen Gulutzan
Booking suggestions: golf, fishing, baseball, speaking engagements, hosting, charity appearances, and youth hockey camps
Olympic Figure Skater
Jamie Sale was born in Calgary and raised in Red Deer, Alberta. She began skating at an early age and moved into pairs figure skating by age twelve. Sale competed in both singles and pairs until the age of nineteen and focused solely on her pairs career after that. Sale teamed up with Jason Turner for the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway and finished twelfth overall. In 1998, Sale paired up with David Pelletier and the duo earned a bronze medal in Grand Prix events during their first season together. In 2001, Sale and Pelletier became the first pair to win Worlds held in Canada since 1984 and were also awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy as an outstanding Canadian athletes. Sale and Pelletier won gold at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, a huge accomplishment as the Canadian figure skating program had not earned an Olympic gold medal since 1960. Following their Olympic win, Sale and Pelletier began touring with Stars on Ice and were inducted into the Skate Canada Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Olympic Hall of Fame in 2009. Later that year, Sale began her first season with CBC’s Battle of the Blades where she was paired with former NHL player Craig Simpson. The duo went on to win the competition in 2009 and married in 2012. Sale is an advocate for special needs and sits on the national board for Special Olympics and works with fellow Olympian Mark Tewksbury on the Champions Network, a group that spreads the positive word of Special Olympics.
Booking suggestions: speaking engagements, team building, kids events, charity appearances
NHL Star/Professional Singer
From Sarnia, Ontario, Kraig Nienhuis is an electric performer with an interesting past. Nienhuis was an athletic teenager who didn’t take hockey seriously until age eighteen and spent the majority of his organized hockey experience playing with his recreational church team. He walked on to a local junior B team, the Sarnia Bees and his play there earned him a hockey scholarship to Rensellear Polytechnical Institute. He completed his Bachelor of Communications degree during his time at RPI. He signed with the Boston Bruins in 1985 as a free agent and scored 16 goals during his rookie season. Over the next couple years, his time in the NHL decreased and he looked for an alternative way to play hockey. In 1988, Nienhuis moved to Europe and played hockey in Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Great Britain and Italy until 1999.
Following his hockey career, Nienhuis returned to his passion of music and focused on opening for artists and festivals. He is an extremely versatile signer who has fronted opening acts for ZZ Top, The Tragically Hip, Nickelback, David Lee Roth and the Beach Boys. Kraig is heavily involved in the NHL Alumni Association and charity events across North America.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time, Mario Lemieux’s career is nothing short of inspirational. In true Canadian style, he learned to play the game on a homemade rink of ice in his front yard in Montreal, Quebec. At age 15, Lemieux broke the QMJHL league record for points in the 1983-1984 season. His impressive production numbers in the QMJHL made him the first overall pick in the 1984 NHL Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. A natural playmaker, Lemieux used his size and skill to navigate his way through opponents and find the net. He was awarded the Calder Trophy for top rookie in the NHL for the 1984-1985 season. The young superstar was exactly what the Pittsburgh Penguins needed to help save their fading franchise.
Lemieux quickly established himself as an elite player in both the NHL and on the international stage. Fresh from back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 1991 and 1992, Lemieux was well on his way to pacing with Gretzky for goals in the 1992-1993 season. Shockingly in January of 1993, the 27 year old was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was quickly forced into an aggressive battle for his life. Following the successful treatment of his cancer, Mario returned to the game. He played for several seasons and hung up his skates in 1997. Shortly after announcing his retirement, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. In 1998, Mario offered to buy the bankrupt Pittsburgh Penguins franchise and promised to keep the team in Pittsburgh. Through his dedication and business smarts, the team’s financial problems began to turn around and the Penguins were back on top as a serious contender for the Stanley Cup.
Unbelievably, Mario announced his comeback in 2000 and returned to the Penguins lineup. The final chapter in his playing career included special moments like the infamous play with Paul Kariya that helped Canada capture the Gold Medal at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City and mentoring young phenom Sidney Crosby. He announced his final retirement from hockey at age 40 in 2006. Mario and his wife, Nathalie champion fundraising for cancer research and other worthy causes through the Mario Lemieux Foundation. Since 1998, the Foundation has given over 23 million dollars to cancer research. In 2017, Mario was named to the NHL 100 Greatest Players list.
“Every day is a great day for hockey.” – Mario Lemieux
Booking suggestions: speaking engagements, charity appearances
Michael Ferland is a professional hockey player with the Calgary Flames. Ferland was born in Swan River, Manitoba and raised by his single mother who made tremendous sacrifices so her son could play hockey. During his youth, Ferland played for a local hockey team in Swan River. Organizations like KidSport and the Manitoba Metis Foundation are credited with helping Micheal’s family purchase his hockey equipment. His sister also stepped back from sports so the family could concentrate on Micheal’s dream of playing professional hockey. Ferland was invited to the Midget AAA Brandon Wheat Kings and made the cut, the opportunity to play AAA hockey paved the way for Micheal to play in the WHL. Ferland joined the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL at the start of the 2008-2009 season.
During his time in the WHL, Ferland racked up 216 points in 202 regular season games and appeared in two Memorial Cup tournaments. In 2010, the Calgary Flames selected Micheal in the NHL Entry Draft. Following the draft, Ferland continued to play in the WHL before joining the Abbotsford Flames fulltime in 2013. In 2014-2015 season, Micheal split his time between the Adirondack Flames and the Calgary Flames. By the 2015 season, Ferland was a regular in the Calgary Flames lineup. He has worked his way up to the top line flanked by Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. Quickly getting a reputation for his hard shot and physical play, Ferland is well on to his way to a promising career.
Micheal has become a fan favourite in Calgary and won over the hearts of hockey fans everywhere by sharing his struggle with alcoholism as well as his road to recovery and sobriety. His unique path to the NHL is an inspiration to young players, particularly aboriginal hockey players who relate to the struggles Micheal has overcome to achieve his dream of being a professional hockey player in the NHL. Micheal currently calls Calgary home with his fiancé Kayleigh and their young daughter.
“Thinking back, I really stop and think now where I’m at and where I was. It’s pretty unbelievable.” – Micheal Ferland
Booking Suggestions: youth hockey camps
From a young age, gritty right-winger Mike Keane knew he was going to have to work harder than the next guy if he wanted to play in the NHL. After successful seasons in the MJHL and the WHL, Keane went unselected in the NHL annual entry draft. It’s safe to say the draft science was wrong about Keane and he has three Stanley Cup Championships to prove it. In 1985, Keane signed with the Montreal Canadiens as a free agent and was a regular in the lineup by 1988.
Consistency was a big part of Keane’s game, winning battles along the boards and coming up big in the corners. A respected leader and motivator in the dressing room, he often held the coveted Captain role throughout his career. Players like Keane are the ones who take teams to the Stanley Cup Finals. His physical play may not have always made him a regular on the scoresheet but it was crucial to winning games. Keane spent 16 seasons in the NHL and played over 1,100 regulation games. Following his career in the NHL, Keane returned to Winnipeg and played with the Manitoba Moose until his retirement from professional hockey in 2010. The Manitoba Moose retired Keane’s jersey (the first in franchise history). He was awarded the Order of the Buffalo Hunt by the Premier of Manitoba for his tireless work ethic and his off-ice commitment to the community.
In 2013, the Winnipeg Jets announced that Mike Keane would join their staff as the Assistant of Player Development. Mike still calls Winnipeg home along with his wife Tammy and their two children where they continue to gives back to their community throughout the year. A special highlight is the Mike Keane Celebrity Hockey Classic; a fantasy hockey camp held each winter that raises funds for local charities like the True North Foundation and Continuity Care.
“I was fortunate enough to play in the NHL for a few years, but if I hadn’t, I’d still be playing somewhere.” – Mike Keane
Booking suggestions: golf, hockey, fishing, hosting, charity appearances, locker room talks
If you’re looking for the nicest guy in the room, look no further than Robyn Regehr. His career is a testament to the notion that attitude is everything and overcoming adversity isn’t always optional. At age 19, Robyn and his brother were on their way home to Rosthern, Saskatchewan when a drunk driver swung into their lane and caused a head-on collision. Robyn suffered multiple fractures in his left leg and a puncture wound in his right leg as a result of the crash. His bright and promising hockey career hung in the balance, as doctors feared he might never be able to play hockey again. Determined, Robyn spent the rest of his summer recovering and to the surprise of everyone, he returned to professional hockey just three short months after the accident.
Best known on the ice for his impressive defensive skill and physical ability, Robyn spent 15 seasons in the NHL and has represented Canada several times on the international stage. In 2014, Robyn won the Stanley Cup with the LA Kings. After the Captain’s traditional first lap, Dustin Brown handed the cup to Robyn as a gesture of gratitude for his off-ice contributions to the team. Aside from winning the Cup, Robyn is most proud of receiving the “Silver Stick Award” from the NHL for playing over 1000 regulation games. In 2016, he came home to retire with the Calgary Flames.
Robyn and his wife Kristina along with their two sons call Calgary home where he is part owner in Blueline Oilfield Rentals. During the summer season, Robyn and his wife Kristina along with their two sons spend time at their cabin back in Saskatchewan. He is actively involved with the Flames Alumni Association and supports their charity events throughout the year. While you can still find Robyn playing, now it’s for causes like “Hockey Helps the Homeless” or “The Gordie Howe C.A.R.E.S Pro-Am Hockey Tournament.
“What I’ve learned is that life can change, or end, in an instant. And that for however long you’re here, you’d better make the most out of the time you’re given.” – Robyn Regehr
Booking suggestions: golf, hockey, fishing, speaking engagements, hosting, charity appearances, locker room talks
Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Scott Niedermayer’s lengthy hockey career carries professional milestones that earned respect from fans across North America. Niedermayer spent three seasons with the Kelowna Blazers and helped the team captured their first Memorial Cup in franchise history by earning an assist on the game-winning goal. During his WHL career, Niedermayer captured 190 points in 156 regular season games. He was selected third overall in the NHL draft by the New Jersey Devils in 1991. Niedermayer won four Stanley Cups and two Olympic gold medals during his seventeen-year career in the NHL.
Stu Grimson is a retired Canadian professional hockey player who had a lengthy career in the NHL playing for Anaheim, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and Nashville. His on-ice play earned him the nickname “The Grim Reaper” but was a well-respected teammate and opponent off the ice. Following his retirement from professional hockey, Grimson earned a law degree from the University of Memphis and is a licensed attorney. Grimson is currently an on-air analyst for the NHL Network.
Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Valerie Favreau has wowed local audiences with her contemporary, jazz, soulful tone and her passionate delivery of a multitude of musical styles and genres. Valerie has sung at various events and fundraisers such as Swinging with the Stars, Music for the Gut, Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Kelly Chase Fantasy Camp, Eagle Creek Jamboree, Kids of Note, Just Read Saskatoon, Bust a Move and Gutsy Walk, She also frequently preforms at fashion shows, weddings and memorial services. In addition to her solo career, Val has also spent time singing with the Fireside Singers, and collaborating with other local artists in Saskatoon.
Valerie has been inspired and influenced by many musical artists from Etta James, Jonny Cash, Frank Sinatra, Leonard Cohan, to Bob Dylan, Beyoncé and Nathaniel Rateliff. Her style is it’s own, her voice is powerful yet warm and meaningful. When Valerie is not singing and volunteering for the community, she is a classroom teacher and proud Mother to a beautiful daughter.
Leave it to a kid from Kelvington, Saskatchewan to become one of the most popular players to ever don a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey. Though widely remembered for his career as a left-winger with the Leafs, Clark actually started his hockey career with the Saskatoon Blades as a defenseman. During two seasons with the Blades, Clark notched an impressive 155 points and 478 penalty minutes. The Leafs took notice and drafted Clark first overall in 1985. He spent thirteen out of fifteen seasons with the Maple Leafs and remains a fan favourite with Leaf fans. Clark dedicates much of his time to charity causes and supports fundraising initiatives across North America.
Olympic Hockey Player
Olympic gold medalist Tessa Bonhomme is a reporter and anchor for SPORTSCENTRE, Canada’s most-watched sports news and information show.
Bonhomme made her TSN debut in 2014 as a panelist for hockey broadcasts during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, and then as a host for the network’s French Open Primetime.
Her broadcasting resume also includes time with Leafs TV as a hockey insider and GolTV Canada covering the Toronto FC.
A defenceman for the National Women’s Hockey Team beginning in 2004, Bonhomme helped Canada win a third straight gold medal at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. She also won gold in the IIHF World Women’s Championship in both 2007 and 2012 and silver in 2009, 2011, and 2013.
Speaker, Author, Business Coach
Daria is the owner of Boost Strategic Coaching. She is an advisor to business owners and professionals, becoming the co-pilot with her clients to line up their business development and marketing strategy. She recently released her first book, Hands-On Marketing; The Complete Business Owner’s Guide to Advertising and Branding (available on Amazon). She is motivated and inspired when entrepreneurship thrives, and loves being part of the journey to success.
Daria Malin speaks to what motivates professionals from every walk of life; growth and success. She brings clarity to the overwhelming world of marketing and personal branding and leaves her audiences with measurable steps they can take to take their business or professional career to the next level. Audiences appreciate the interactive nature of her sessions and leave energized and inspired to set and achieve big goals. Daria has spoken for The Spark Women’s Leadership Conference, SREDA, BPW, WESK, The Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program, The NSBA, Look Agency, Rawlco Radio, Innovation Place, and numerous other businesses and organizations across Saskatchewan and Canada.
Daria lives in Saskatoon with her husband and three children.