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Two Manitobans make Canada's men's Olympic hockey team

Gian Ehrenzeller / Keystone Files</p><p>Morden's Chay Genoway, left, is in his fourth season of playing in the KHL and is currently with the Tolyatti Lada team. He has four goals and 13 assists in 49 games this season.</p></p>

Gian Ehrenzeller / Keystone Files

Morden's Chay Genoway, left, is in his fourth season of playing in the KHL and is currently with the Tolyatti Lada team. He has four goals and 13 assists in 49 games this season.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/1/2018 (332 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Quinton Howden didn't have the homecoming he was hoping for after signing with the Winnipeg Jets last season.

But now the Oakbank product has the chance to undo some frustration and bring back an Olympic medal after being selected to the Canadian men's team that will compete next month in South Korea.

Howden, 25, and Morden's Chay Genoway were among the 25 players announced Thursday by the national program. They will take the place of National Hockey League stars who are not permitted to play in the Olympics for the first time since 1994.

"All of our players, somewhere along the line, they’ve been told no, they're not going to get a chance to continue their NHL career or even start it in some ways," head coach Willie Desjardins told reporters as the roster was revealed. "A lot like other Canadians, they’ve managed to battle it and fight back. They’ve stuck with it, they won’t give up. That’s what our team is about. It’s about guys who have received a no but found a way to make a yes."

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/1/2018 (332 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Quinton Howden didn't have the homecoming he was hoping for after signing with the Winnipeg Jets last season.

But now the Oakbank product has the chance to undo some frustration and bring back an Olympic medal after being selected to the Canadian men's team that will compete next month in South Korea.

Howden, 25, and Morden's Chay Genoway were among the 25 players announced Thursday by the national program. They will take the place of National Hockey League stars who are not permitted to play in the Olympics for the first time since 1994.

"All of our players, somewhere along the line, they’ve been told no, they're not going to get a chance to continue their NHL career or even start it in some ways," head coach Willie Desjardins told reporters as the roster was revealed. "A lot like other Canadians, they’ve managed to battle it and fight back. They’ve stuck with it, they won’t give up. That’s what our team is about. It’s about guys who have received a no but found a way to make a yes."

Howden, the 25th-overall selection by Florida in the 2010 draft, signed with the Jets as a free agent in the summer of 2016 after getting in 92 career games with the Panthers, where he scored 10 goals and added seven assists.

"I always said it was a dream to come home and play," Howden told reporters just before his first game at Bell MTS Place.

But it didn't exactly go as planned. Howden dressed in just five games with the Jets last year, recording no points. The forward played 58 games with the Manitoba Moose, putting up 13 goals and 11 assists, before his season was cut short by a shoulder injury. After the NHL club didn't qualify him last summer, he became an unrestricted free agent once again.

Howden took his talents overseas, signing with Minsk Dynamo of the Kontinental Hockey League. It turned out to be a great move. Howden has 15 goals and 14 assists in 49 KHL games this season, which helped put him on the radar for Canadian officials looking to fill the Olympic roster with non-NHL players.

It's been quite a week for the Howden family. Brett Howden was part of the Canadian team that just captured gold in the World Junior Hockey Championships. Brett, 19, was drafted 27th-overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2016 draft.

Now Quinton has the chance to trump his little brother with some Olympic hardware. No doubt he'd love to add a gold to his medal collection which includes a silver from the 2011 World Juniors and a bronze from the 2012 event.

The eldest Howden was at home watching "Friends" on television when he got the call. It was his brother, who had Hockey Canada on the line. 

"The only thing to say is blown away.  I didn’t think it was real. It really hasn’t sunk in yet," he told the Free Press late Thursday night, which was morning in Minsk. 

Howden said this makes the decision to head to Belarus and play in the KHL last fall worth it. 

"I mean every kid wants to play in the NHL as long as they can.  But for me it was the right decision at the time and it has been an awesome experience so far," said Howden. 

Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva Files</p><p>Oakbank's Quinton Howden is playing with Minsk Dynamo of the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia this season. Howden has 15 goals and 14 assists in 49 KHL games.</p>

Jussi Nukari / Lehtikuva Files

Oakbank's Quinton Howden is playing with Minsk Dynamo of the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia this season. Howden has 15 goals and 14 assists in 49 KHL games.

"When we go to these Olympics, this team will make Canada proud. There’ll be a gold-medal effort and there won’t be one guy that puts that jersey on that this isn’t the highlight of their hockey career and the highlight of their family’s career," Canada general manager Sean Burke told reporters Thursday.

 

 

Genoway, 31, spent five years playing college hockey down the highway at the University of North Dakota where he graduated as the fourth-highest scoring defencemen in school history. He captained the 2011 team that made the Frozen Four after being granted a special medical exemption to play a fifth season as a result of a serious concussion suffered from a dirty hit that cost him much of his fourth year.

He signed a free-agent contract with Minnesota, but played just one career NHL game with the Wild during the 2011-12 season — recording an assist. He spent the majority of his North American pro career in the American Hockey League before going abroad.

Genoway is now in his fourth season of playing in the KHL and is currently with the Tolyatti Lada team. He has four goals and 13 assists in 49 games this season. His older brother, Colby, also plays in the KHL and spent two seasons with the Manitoba Moose between 2006-2008.

Howden and Genoway couldn't be reached for comment Thursday, as it was late-evening in Belarus and Russia when the announcement was made.

More than 100 players participated in four pre-Olympic tournaments to help with the decision-making.

Team Canada is certainly a team loaded with experience, with the 25 players having played more than 5,500 combined NHL games over their careers. The average age for the squad is just over 31 years, and the selected players come from seven different leagues in North America and Europe.

They include veteran forwards such as Chris Kelly (833 NHL games), Derek Roy (738 games) and Rene Bourque (725 games). Two other players have connections to Manitoba.

Ontario's Eric O'Dell played 41 games with the Jets in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons while also spending four seasons with their AHL affiliate in St. John's. He's been playing in the KHL for the past two years.

And Alberta's Mason Raymond spent two seasons with the Moose early in his career before going on to 546 career NHL games with a variety of teams including Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Anaheim. He's currently playing this year in Switzerland.

Former Winnipeg Jets forward Jim Slater was recently named to the United States men's Olympic team.

The 12-nation tournament begins Feb. 14.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @mikemcintyrewpg

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Reporter

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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History

Updated on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at 1:23 PM CST: Updates format

5:41 PM: Full write through

11:38 PM: Adds quotes

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