© Geoff Brookes
Mark Scheifele. Underdog. Hard working. Dedicated. Loyal. Community-oriented. Committed to self-improvement.
Oh, and by the way, he knows how to play hockey. He’s got that elusive quality, hockey IQ, that ability to see the ice and make plays that others don’t see, while moving at speed on a sheet of ice.
He’s that classic Hollywood story. The one about the guy that didn’t have a chance of making the big leagues. If he reads this blog, it’s probably painful for him – sorry Mark – but he was cut by his junior team less than 2 years before being drafted by the Jets. He didn’t give up.
He got a shot with a rebuilding Ontario Hockey League team. In true Hollywood storytelling, that junior team was coached by former Winnipeg Jet legend (and Hall of Fame inductee) Dale Hawerchuck.
Cue the emotional, inspirational speech and motivating moment of self-discovery. Cue the music, with a slow crescendo. Cue that moment – I would love to have been there – where Mark Scheifele scores his first Ontario Hockey League goal, and makes the first of many great passes leading to his teammates goals.
In case any of our loyal readers think I’m over-dramatizing this, I’m not. It’s all true. It just sounds like a Hollywood movie. Some of this is captured on this video clip from the 2011 draft:
Could there be another player who would better symbolize our embattled, “damn it all we’re going to make it” psyche of our wind-swept prairie berg?
In you’re wildest dreams, would there be a better person to be drafted first in the history of our “reborn from the ashes against all odds” NHL hockey team? Right after the “reveal” that, despite prior public statements, the team quietly announces at the draft that, yes, the team would be named the “Winnipeg Jets” once again?
I don’t think so.
As Winnipeg Jets General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff (“Chevy”) said yesterday, “There’s probably not a truer match for our organization than Mark Scheifele.”
Scheifele has embraced our community, connecting with us in many charity events and activities. Chevy: “It is like it was with Jets 1.0. Mark is a throwback to that time.”
Last year, he was the third leading scorer in the entire NHL during the latter third of the NHL season, behind only Sidney Crosby and Joe Thornton. (You may need to read this paragraph twice.)
And now, this amazingly driven person, this potential superstar (yes, superstar), this “rags to riches” hero, has to chosen to lead our reborn Winnipeg Jets to hockey glory for at least the next 8 years.
I don’t know about you, but I need a Kleenex box, and I don’t have a cold.
Thank you, Mark Scheifele! Do us proud, citizen of Winnipeg!