News / Halifax

‘It’s about attitude:’ Cole Harbour sure knows how to produce hockey stars

Extra iron in the water?

Secret government lab conducting Captain America-type experiments?

Jor-El quietly sending the rest of his progeny to earth and not noticing they keep landing in the same place?

As yet another Cole Harbour hockey phenom prepares to join the NHL, some of his predecessors are sharing theories on how the little suburb of HRM keeps churning out shinny superstars.

And their theories, sadly, are kind of dull.

“It was a lot of people that got behind local sports and a lot of young families, a lot of kids who all loved playing street hockey," said Joe DiPenta, the former

Anaheim defenceman who first brought the Stanley Cup to Cole Harbour’s streets. “We were such a close-knit familiy in the hockey community.”

DiPenta won the Cup in 2007, two years before Sidney Crosby’s electrifying championship season with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009.

Now, Mooseheads forward Nathan MacKinnon is widely expected to be the top pick in Sunday’s NHL draft after leading the Herd to both its first President Cup and then eclipsing rival top draft pick Seth Jones in the Memorial Cup.

DiPenta said it is “amazing” to have two top-ranked hockey players come out of a small town, but said may be more about role models – like Mooseheads GM Cam Russell - than rationed supplies of Popeye’s spinach.

“When I was growing up, when I thought of Cam playing for the Blackhawks, it made me feel like it was possible,” he said.

Top-ranked lightweight UFC fighter TJ Grant and multiple-award winning singer-songwriter Matt Mays also hail from Cole Harbour, but Premier and Cole Harbour MLA Darrell Dexter said the tradition of stars is simply a product of a close-knit community and good role models.

“I don't think there's anything in the water, I think it's about attitude, and success breeds success,” he said. “People look around, they see other kids being successful and they aspire to that.”

Premier makes pugnacious draft prediction

In a bit of a change-up, it’s Premier Darrell Dexter who’s voting for one of his constituents this weekend – or he would if he could.

Cole Harbour’s Nathan MacKinnon is expected to be one of the top two NHL draft picks on Sunday, and Dexter had a firm opinion on how it should play out.

“From my perspective, anything other than going No. 1 would be an injustice,” said Dexter Thursday.

Portland Winterhawks defenceman Seth Jones was expected to be top pick, prior to the Memorial Cup final in which the Mooseheads trounced the Winterhawks.

“I'm sure Seth Jones is a great kid too, but quite frankly, during the Memorial Cup, Nathan undressed him a few times,” said Dexter.