By Patrick King for the Canadian Hockey League
Nicholas Baptiste and Mathew Campagna don’t have to look far for an example how the SUBWAY Super Series can become a springboard for Canada’s World Junior team.
The Sudbury Wolves’ duo each saw Marcus Foligno, a former Wolves forward, use his size, tenacity and offensive instincts lead to a Team OHL win in 2010 and later a roster spot on Canada’s World Junior team. As the current Wolves look to follow in Foligno’s footsteps with this game also being played in front of their home fans at the Sudbury Community Arena, each aspires at making a similar impact.
“(Foligno) really made his mark at that game for a World Junior invitation and eventually making the team,” says Baptiste, who recalls watching the 2010 game on TV at his home in Ottawa. “That’s something I’m looking forward to hopefully playing well and getting recognized and hopefully getting an invite to camp.”
Campagna, a rookie with the Wolves in 2010, was in attendance, along with all of his Sudbury teammates. Their teammate wearing an OHL jersey saved his best for last with the winning goal in the shootout.
“I just saw another level in his game that I had never seen before,” Campagna says. “He was just a big guy hitting bodies and making the Russians scared. It was something!”
Ever since Sudbury was chosen as host of this game, both Baptiste and Campagna made it a goal to be named to the roster. They will be joined behind the bench by Wolves’ Head Coach Paul Fixter and Assistant David Matsos, who will both be Assistants to Head Coach Dale Hunter for this game.
It’s the third time Sudbury will host the event, tied with Sarnia for the most of any OHL city. There’s a buzz in the Nickel City to be hosting this event once more, which comes as no surprise.
“There’s a reason they keep coming back here, because it is a good hockey community,” Fixter says. “Hockey is a big part of the community and so people are talking about it, people are excited about it and it’s had its success in the past and it will continue to. This is a great old building to play in because there’s nowhere to hide. The fans are on top of you, it’s a passionate group, so you’re expected to perform.”
Baptiste is looking forward to playing with the likes of Connor McDavid and Bo Horvat, while bringing his brand of play to Team OHL.
“Throughout Russia’s whole history they have always been a very skilled team,” Baptiste says. “I think for us to be successful, we have to take the body to them and make them feel uncomfortable away from home and go to the dirty areas to get rewarded. We have a lot of skill on our OHL team, but I think if we can combine our skill with our work ethic, we’re going to be successful.”
The Russians will be playing their first game since Thursday’s contest in Oshawa, while the OHL all-stars will resume league play on the weekend. Fixter doesn’t believe that should be construed as an advantage for the Russian National Junior team.
“Emotion is a big part of this game,” he says. “Any time you get to wear your country’s logo, you’re representing your league, your province, your country, that overcomes all else and I don’t see that being a factor.
“When emotion becomes part of it, you’re not tired.”
The emotion in representing the OHL and Canada will give each player that extra boost.
“Everyone knows the OHL has great hockey players and a great league so hopefully we can send that message, beat the Russians bad and just show that the OHL is ready to play,” Campagna concludes.
This game can be seen live on Sportsnet.
2013 SUBWAY Super Series schedule (7pm local start times):
Game 1 – Monday, November 18, at Gatineau, QC (QMJHL wins 3-2) - Game Summary
Game 2 – Wednesday, November 20, at Sherbrooke, QC (QMJHL wins 4-3) - Game Summary
Game 3 – Thursday, November 21, at Oshawa, ON (RUS wins 5-2) - Game Summary
Game 4 – Monday, November 25, at Sudbury, ON
(Sportsnet East, Pacific, and ONE, Sportsnet 590 The FAN)
Game 5 – Wednesday, November 27, at Red Deer, AB
(Sportsnet East, Ontario, West, and Pacific)
Game 6 – Thursday, November 28, at Lethbridge, AB
(Sportsnet ONE, and Sportsnet 590 and 960 The FAN)
For information about rosters and tickets please visit www.subwaysuperseries.ca.