Kelly Friesen

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Kelly Friesen is a blogger for Yahoo! Sports

  • Notre Dame forward Carson McManaman, right, has become a mental health advocate after losing his father to suicide.
    Notre Dame forward Carson McManaman, far right, has become a mental health advocate after losing his father to suicide.

     

    Carson McManaman wants to make a difference. It’s important, not only for him, but for his father as well.

    It’s important because he lost his dad, Jamie McManaman, to suicide on June 23, 2016.

    “It hasn’t been an easy ride, but my motivation comes from my father,” said McManaman, a senior at Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask . “I try to make him proud every day, in some way.  I have to keep going for my family too, having them see me thrive despite the circumstances pushes them as well.”

    The 17-year-old is using his very personal tragedy to help others by becoming a mental health advocate in his community. He wants to send a message of hope to people suffering with depression. He especially wants them to know they’re not alone in their battle against mental illness.

    “You can get through it, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel,” said

    Read More »from Notre Dame’s Carson McManaman uses tragedy to become mental health advocate
  • Leafs pick Adam Brooks eyes championship in last WHL season

    Regina's Adam Brooks has 25 points in 11 games this year. (Keith Hershmiller/Regina Pats)
    Regina’s Adam Brooks has 25 points in 11 games this year. (Keith Hershmiller/Regina Pats)

     

    On an individual basis, Regina Pats centre Adam Brooks has nothing left to prove in the Western Hockey League. He led the league in scoring last year with 38 goals and 120 points in 72 games in his 19-year-old season.

    The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect believes the objective of his last WHL season is to add an Ed Chynoweth Cup next to his Bob Clarke Trophy. He’s preparing to help the 14-0-3-0 Queen City Kids win their first WHL championship since 1980.

    “That’s (win a championship) what I want to do in my last season,” says Brooks, who was named the WHL Player of the Week from Nov. 6-13. “Right now in my fifth year, this is the best team of the five I’ve played on. This team has a chance to win this year and that’s what we are all working towards.”

    On top of elite skill and unmatched depth, Brooks believes Regina’s greatest strength is how they have come together as a team.

    “We have the depth and

    Read More »from Leafs pick Adam Brooks eyes championship in last WHL season
  • Prince George Cougars' Jansen Harkins eyes WJC, WHL playoff run

    Jets prospect Jansen Harkins has 16 points in 13 games this year in the WHL. (Larry MacDougal, The Canadian Press)Jets prospect Jansen Harkins has 16 points in 13 games this year in the WHL. (Larry MacDougal, The Canadian Press)

    From the world junior championship to a WHL playoff run, Prince George Cougars centre Jansen Harkins has no shortage of prestigious opportunities ahead of him this season.

    The Winnipeg Jets second-round pick hopes to use a couple of strong showings in the 2016 CIBC Canada Russia Series to find favour from Hockey Canada’s world junior brass. He suits up in his first Canada-Russia game tonight in Prince George.

    “Every time I’ve played for Hockey Canada it has been a great experience,” says Harkins. “It is always a lot of fun and an honour to play in games like this. I am looking forward to the series and see it as a good opportunity. The world junior tournament is a big event and growing up watching it you always dream of playing in it.”

    The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Harkins would be an option for Team Canada as either a top-six forward or a shutdown specialist. He has solidified himself as a sound two-way forward who has the skill to produce offensively at the major junior level.

    “I’ve

    Read More »from Prince George Cougars' Jansen Harkins eyes WJC, WHL playoff run
  • NHL draft tracker: Ian Scott, Prince Albert Raiders

    Prince Albert's Ian Scott is regarded as one of the top goalies of the 2017 NHL draft (Lucas Chudleigh)Prince Albert's Ian Scott is regarded as one of the top goalies of the 2017 NHL draft (Lucas Chudleigh)

    As the ninth overall selection of the 2014 WHL bantam draft, Prince Albert Raiders goaltender Ian Scott entered his major junior career with high expectations. He was the highest netminder taken in the draft since the Tri-City Americans chose Carey Price seventh overall in 2002.

    “The draft was a normal day for me,” says Scott. “I went to school, but I did watch it in class. I thought it was cool to go that high in the draft. I tried not thinking about being drafted as high as other goalies. I just was honoured to be picked by Prince Albert.”

    The 6-foot-4, 169-pound Scott has lived up to the hype thus far in his WHL career. He’s asserted himself as one of the league’s top young goaltenders this season, posting a .921 save percentage and a 2.88 average throughout his first 10 contests.

    “A lot of it has to do with making sure I’m ready every game,” says Scott, who is regarded as a B-list prospect (second or third round) by NHL Central Scouting Service in the 2017 NHL draft. “I prepare

    Read More »from NHL draft tracker: Ian Scott, Prince Albert Raiders
  • Nick Henry’s decision to join WHL’s Regina Pats paying early dividends

    NHL draft prospect Nick Henry is off to a hot start with the Regina Pats. (Keith Hershmiller)NHL draft prospect Nick Henry is off to a hot start with the Regina Pats. (Keith Hershmiller)

    Nick Henry appeared to be college bound after making a verbal commitment to Western Michigan University last May. Those plans began to change when the Regina Pats acquired his WHL rights from the Everett Silvertips at the 2016 bantam draft. He went on to forego a NCAA scholarship and sign with the Queen City Kids in early September.

    The 6-foot, 190-pounder winger points to his development as the main reason for his major hockey decision. He believes going straight to the WHL was a better option than playing in the MJHL (Manitoba Junior A) and USHL before joining Western Michigan in 2018-19.

    “It came down to the time frame,” says Henry. “If I went to Western Michigan, I would have had to play another year in Portage (Terriers) and then a year in the USHL. I felt it made more sense for my development to come here. I have nothing against (coach) Andy Murray’s program and would have loved to play for him, but it just made sense for me to go this route.”

    Although it wasn’t at the forefront

    Read More »from Nick Henry’s decision to join WHL’s Regina Pats paying early dividends
  • Lethbridge’s Brayden Burke uses draft disappointment as extra motivation

    Lethbridge Hurricanes forward Brayden Burke notched 109 points in 72 games last year. (Cindy Adachi)Lethbridge Hurricanes forward Brayden Burke notched 109 points in 72 games last year. (Cindy Adachi)

    Lethbridge Hurricanes winger Brayden Burke didn’t expect to don a sweater on the 2015 NHL draft floor. He only suited up in 42 games as a WHL freshman that season with eight goals and 34 points on his stats sheet.

    The 2016 NHL draft was a different story. He broke out in 2015-16 as one of the WHL’s most prolific playmakers on a resurged Hurricanes club. A testament to his success is how he led the league in assists with 82 while adding 27 goals in a 72-game season.

    “I tried to keep it simple and play my game,” Burke says on his breakout year. “I played with some great linemates and had the confidence of my coach and team behind me. We had a lot of success on the power play and came together as a team.”

    Nonetheless, despite his phenomenal numbers and elite playmaking abilities, the 5-foot-10, 163-pound Burke found himself in a familiar spot on draft day. He was passed over for the second straight year by 30 NHL clubs.

    “I didn’t know how the draft would shakeup,” says Burke. “I didn’t

    Read More »from Lethbridge’s Brayden Burke uses draft disappointment as extra motivation
  • Boston Bilous explains decision to join WHL’s Oil Kings over Denver

    Langley, B.C., native Boston Bilous signed with the WHL's Edmonton Oil Kings last week. (Oil Kings)Langley, B.C., native Boston Bilous signed with the WHL's Edmonton Oil Kings last week. (Oil Kings)

    At just 15 years old, Boston Bilous has garnered interest from here, there and everywhere in the hockey world.

    It all started when he verbally committed to the NCAA’s Denver Pioneers last September at the start of his Grade 9 year. The move turned its fair share of heads, as it was unheard of for a Canadian goaltender to receive a commitment from a prestigious Division 1 program out of bantam hockey.

    “Denver came about through my parents and advisors (Shane Corston and Allain Roy),” says Bilous, who played for the Delta Bantam Prep team in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League in 2015-16. “The decision was left with me and at the time I thought it was the right decision to make. No one made me go the college route or was pushing it on me. We went down to Denver and checked everything out and it felt right to me at that time.”

    Despite his college commitment, the Edmonton Oil Kings went on to draft the Langley, B.C., native in the fourth round of the 2016 WHL bantam draft. The move

    Read More »from Boston Bilous explains decision to join WHL’s Oil Kings over Denver
  • Early look at 2017 NHL draft’s top 10 prospects

    Nolan Patrick is considered the 2017 draft's top prospect.(Brandon Wheat Kings)Nolan Patrick is considered the 2017 draft's top prospect.(Brandon Wheat Kings)

    With the 2016 NHL draft in the rearview mirror, there’s no time like the present to look ahead at the 2017 NHL draft class. The draft has the makings of a quality group of high-end prospects.

    Unlike the 2016 draft, Canada has no shortage of elite talents at the top of the upcoming draft class. The likes of Brandon Wheat Kings centre Nolan Patrick, Windsor Spitfires playmaker Gabriel Vilardi, Mississauga Steelheads sniper Owen Tippett and Victoriaville Tigres star Maxime Comtois are regarded as four of the top five prospects in the draft.

    Here is a look at an early take on the top prospects of the 2017 draft. The order of the list and scouting reports are courtesy of Future Considerations.

    1. Nolan Patrick, centre, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) – Thick hockey bloodlines run through Patrick’s veins. The 6-foot-3, 194-pound centre, who notched 41 goals and 102 points in 72 games last year as a WHL sophomore, is the son of NHL alumnus Steve Patrick and nephew of NHL alumnus and Dallas Stars

    Read More »from Early look at 2017 NHL draft’s top 10 prospects
  • NHL scout: “I give (Auston) Matthews around 65 points (next season)”

    Auston Matthews is expected to be the No. 1 pick of the 2016 draft. (Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva via AP) Auston Matthews is expected to be the No. 1 pick of the 2016 draft. (Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva via AP)

    It seems it is only a matter of time before Auston Matthews dons a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey on the 2016 NHL draft floor. Even though Patrik Laine is hot on his heels, the combination of his elite skill set and strong all-around game has solidified him as the top prospect of his draft class.

    With his destination nearly set in stone, the type of impact the Scottsdale, AZ., native will make in the NHL next season has become a hot topic of discussion. Some scouts feel he will be Toronto’s No. 1 centre as a rookie, unless, of course, they sign Steven Stamkos.

    “In my eyes he will be Toronto's No.1 centre right away, but maybe they have a more conservative plan with him,” says NHL Central Scouting’s Thomas Roost. “But still, I stand to my opinion that Matthews is already a bit better than (Nazem) Kadri and (Tyler) Bozak.”

    On the stats sheet, it seems the 6-foot-2, 216-pound Matthews has the potential to produce 60 or more points, especially when considering he should receive no shortage of

    Read More »from NHL scout: “I give (Auston) Matthews around 65 points (next season)”
  • Scouts preview 2016 NHL draft’s top 10 prospects

    The Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to draft Auston Matthews first overall in Buffalo. (Reuters)The Toronto Maple Leafs are expected to draft Auston Matthews first overall in Buffalo. (Reuters)

     

    Led by Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine, the 2016 NHL draft class is full of elite talents from across the globe. The combination of the draft’s high-end skill and depth make it one of the top draft classes in the past decade.

    One major theme in this year’s draft is the high number of prolific big-bodied forwards. Look no further than how the top five picks in the draft may all end up being forwards who stand 6-foot-1 or taller. It’s clearly a good year for NHL teams to bulk up their offenses.

    Without further ado, here’s a look at the top 10 prospects of the draft. Yahoo! Sports teamed up with Future Considerations to put together BTN’s official draft list.

    1. Auston Matthews, centre, ZS Lions (NLA) – The Scottsdale, AZ., native is set to become the NHL’s next big superstar. He’s a prolific goal scorer who possesses an imposing 6-foot-2, 216-pound stature, soft hands and quick feet. Moreover, he’s already proven himself in a prestigious professional league, as he scored 24 goals and

    Read More »from Scouts preview 2016 NHL draft’s top 10 prospects

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