Published on June 28, 2013
Six of the province’s finest young athletes gathered in Quidi Vidi Village recently for a photo shoot. The six, representing Newfoundland and Labrador’s best and brightest athletes, are (from left) basketball’s Hannah Jardine, Samantha Marsh, shooting; Jane Pope, soccer; rugby’s Kieran Lacey and hockey players Clark Bishop and Nathan Noel. All but Marsh, who hails from Mount Pearl, are from St. John’s. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram
Published on June 28, 2013
Runner Jillian Forsey of Kippens ran in the North America, Central and Caribbean cross-country championship in Jamaica and the world cross-country championship last season, and starting in the fall is headed for West Virginia University on an athletic scholarship. — Submitted photo
Published on June 28, 2013
Gander gymnast Evan Hollohan won the gold medal on the uneven bars in the Open Level 3 category at the Atlantic gymnastics championship in Nova Scotia. — Photo by Matt Molloy/The Beacon
Published on June 28, 2013
Corner Brook left-handed pitcher Myles Vincent is playing for the Lethbridge Bulls of the Western Major Baseball League. He pitched for Canada in the world under-18 championship last summer in South Korea. — Photo by Geraldine Brophy/The Western Star
We sure have talent
Everyone knows by now this little province has been doing exceptionally well on the pro hockey circuit, producing seven athletes who are making a living in the National Hockey League.
Daniel Cleary of Riverhead, Harbour Grace, Ryan Clowe of Fermeuse, Colin Greening and Teddy Purcell of St. John’s and Michael Ryder of Bonavista are all full-time NHLers. Luke Adam of St. John’s and Adam Pardy of Bonavista split their time last season between the Buffalo Sabres and the team’s American Hockey League affiliate in Rochester, N.Y.
They’re not alone.
On the rugby pitch, Rod Snow carved himself a pretty fine career, playing professionally in South Africa and Wales, and is still know as one of the best Canada has produced. Ciaran Hearn is currently carrying the Newfoundland and Labrador flag on the national rugby team.
On the hardwood, Carl English starred in the NCAA at the University of Hawaii, and has since been a staple in European professional basketball. This summer, he will suit up for Canada’s national team again. Sarah Davis is a starter on the undefeated NCAA women’s hockey champion, University of Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Newfoundland and Labrador has produced Olympic medalists (the Gushue curling team, of course, along with hockey player Dwayne Norris and rower Maria Maunder) and medal winners at the world junior hockey championships (Norris, Ryder, Adam, John Slaney and Harold Druken).
Colin Abbott, in his heyday, was considered one of the world’s top fastpitch hitters. And speaking of softball, six Newfoundlanders were part of Team Canada at the ISF XIII Men’s World Championship a few months ago in New Zealand.
But many of these athletes are retired, and some others are approaching the twilight of their careers.
But there’s a new breed of young stars on the horizon, and The Telegram salutes a sampling today as we introduce them to you, our readers.
Bishop, 17, was drafted third overall by the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last June, and was named Cape Breton’s rookie of the year after scoring eight goals and adding 14 assists for 22 points in 58 games.
He made a mark on Hockey Canada when he was named to Team Atlantic for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge over the Christmas holidays in Victoriaville and Drummondville, Que., leading the team in scoring with three goals and a pair of assists.
In May, Bishop was one of six under-agers from across Canada invited to the Canadian under-18 training camp in Toronto. He suited up for Canada in a pair of exhibition games against the United States and the Czech Republic before the IIHF world championships began in Sochi, Russia.
As a result of his look-see with the national under-18 squad, Bishop figures to be in the mix with the national summer U18 team, coached by Dale Hunter, for the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament Aug. 5-10 in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Noel became the fourth Newfoundlander to be selected third overall in the QMJHL Draft when the Saint John Sea Dogs tabbed him in the 2013 draft earlier this month.
The St. John’s product has been a much talked-about player dating back to his early minor hockey days. Every so often, a special talent comes along, and Noel has the potential to be that type of player.
He played at Shattuck St. Mary’s the past two seasons, a high-profile U.S. prep school that can boast Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews and Zach Parise as alumni. Last year, Noel scored 10 goals and 40 points in 52 games for Shattuck, all the more impressive when you consider he was the only 1997-born player on the roster.
The year before, toiling with the school’s bantam team, the slick centreman piled up 45 goals and 104 points in 56 games.
Noel also played for Team Atlantic in the world U17s last winter, one of two 1997-born players on the team’s roster.
Jardine, 18 and from St. John’s, has the chance to become the best basketball player from this province since English was at Hawaii.
Next month, Jardine heads to the University of Delaware on a full athletic scholarship. Delaware went 30-3 last season, and was the 15th-ranked school in NCAA women’s DI basketball in the AP rankings.
Jardine was the MVP of the Newfoundland and Labrador Basketball Association’s Hall of Fame Cup high school tournament, and was also a member of the O'Donel team that won the Clarence Sutton Memorial tourney, picking up MVP honours, and the Bishops Hickman Hustle tournament.
Last summer, she was an important part of Canada’s female under-17 team’s bronze medal win at the FIBA U17 world basketball championships in Amsterdam, Canada’s best showing in a FIBA female age-group event.
She had six points and pulled down two boards off the bench as Canada came from behind to defeat Japan 84-77 to finish third at the tournament.
Jardine was the 2012 St. John’s Molson female athlete of the year.
Mount Pearl’s Marsh, 18, is a member of the Newfoundland Shooting Association, and represented the province at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax, and will again compete at the 2015 Games in Prince George, B.C.
In January of this year, Marsh collected a sixth-place finish in the women’s 50 metre, 3X20 match at the 6th Australian Youth Olympic Festival.
The Festival is an IOC-sanctioned multisport event held with the goal of encouraging the youth of the world to embark on the Olympic path. In total over 1,700 athletes from 30 countries took part in 17 sports.
This summer, she will compete at nationals in Beachburg, Ont., and expects another international competition later this year or next.
Marsh began shooting while in cadets, but only after acting on a challenge from her brother.
“I tried it, and found out I was actually pretty good at it,” she says.
The 17-year-old from St. John’s captains The Rock’s Under-18 rugby team, and last year played for the national under-17 squad, the only player east of Ontario to crack the national roster.
Lacey and the Canadian squad played in the Wellington tournament in England, against teams from the host country, France, Wales and Belgium.
This season, Lacey will play for The Rock in the Eastern Canadians in St. John’s, and the nationals in August in British Columbia.
“This kid is the real deal,” said Rock coach Simon Blanks, “an extraordinary player, with a massive engine ... a big heart. He’s in the back row where you have to be one of the fittest on the field. When you carry that component together his willingness and desire and determination to win, you have yourself a player.
“This is a true story — at the nationals last year against Ontario, he quite literally ran himself to a standstill. He just dropped, and had to be looked at by doctors. His refusal to quit, even against a very strong opponent, was utterly astonishing to watch.”
The 18-year-old from St. John’s is one of the province’s finest soccer players in her age group, and next season will play for the varsity Sea-Hawks in her Memorial University freshman year.
Pope is playing with the Canada Games team which will represent the province at the 2013 Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que., in August.
A finalist for the 2011 St. John’s Molson Female Athlete of the Year Award, Pope was seventh in Breen’s Jubilee Trophy provincial women’s soccer scoring last season with seven goals while toiling for the St. John’s U18s.
At the 2010 BMO national under-16 championships, Pope won the Golden Boot award as the top goal scorer award for the tournament.
Pope was also a key player on the provincial under-16 Atlantic championship team in 2011 that went on to win a silver medal at the nationals in Lethbridge, Alta. The performance was the first time a Newfoundland and Labrador female soccer team ever made it to the national final game.
Sea-Hawks head coach Walt Mavin said Pope is a very skilled player and will have an immediate impact up front for a Memorial University team lacking scoring punch.
Vincent is a hard-throwing, 18-year-old southpaw pitcher from Corner Brook who is playing in the 11-team Western Major Baseball League with the Lethbridge, Alta. Bulls.
He has, for the past two seasons, been attending the Prairie Baseball Academy in Lethbridge, and expects to play there again next season.
Last year, Vincent emerged from out of nowhere to help Canada win a silver medal at the world 18-and-under baseball championship in South Korea.
Greg Hamilton, Baseball Canada’s head coach and director of national teams, had been watching Vincent after the left-hander’s showing at the Canada Cup under-18 tournament in London, Ont.
In his only start, against Saskatchewan, Vincent allowed five runs on five hits. He was a bit wild, walking six batters, but it was his 11 strikeouts in six-plus innings of work — hitting 87 on the radar gun — that got tongues wagging.
“His arm works, and the trump card is he’s left-handed,” Hamilton has said. “The breaking ball is his out pitch and when you’re a lefty with a plus breaking ball, well, somebody will give you a chance.”
The 17-year-old Kippens native, one of the elite runners in the country for her age, will attend West Virginia University on an athletic scholarship starting in September.
Forsey was courted by a number of United States colleges, including the University of Connecticut, Louisville and Villanova.
School Sports Newfoundland and Labrador’s top student-athlete this year, Forsey won the national junior women’s cross-country championship in Vancouver. That showing earned her a spot on the Canadian team for the North America, Central and Caribbean cross-country championship in Jamaica, where she placed eighth overall in the junior women’s race.
She later ran in the world cross-country championships in Poland, placing 49th overall.
“Going to West Virginia is exciting, to finally get the opportunity to have a group of girls to train with and push me to run my very best every day,” Forsey told The Western Star, “along with the facilities and support staff that help to be a competitive runner. I think I’ll have some major improvements in that athletic environment.”
The gymnast from the Gander Airials Club enjoyed a big 2013 season, winning a gold medal on the uneven bars in the Open Level 3 category at the Atlantic gymnastics championship in Sydney, N.S.
The placing earned her a berth in the Eastern Canadian gymnastics championship in St. John’s, but Hollohan was unable to attend because she was busy with another sport at which she excels — track and field. Hollohan travelled to Toronto with her Gander Collegiate Concordes for the 2013 Nike High School Grand Prix meet.
“Coming from Gander, a small town where we’re having issues with space (in the gymnastics club),” Hollohan told The Gander Beacon’s Matt Molloy, “I think I proved if you really love and want something, you can achieve it.
“I don’t want to be considered the underdog compared to the girls from St. John’s. Just keep working hard, and if you love it, things should progress.”
Hollohan was the Airials’ senior female gymnast of the year.