At the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, we had an opportunity to ask some of them some questions. Today, we present a one-on-one with former Saint John Sea Dog and Memorial Cup champion, Steven Anthony.
Photo credit: canucks.nhl.com
CHB: Describe how you felt after winning the Memorial Cup.
Steven Anthony: It was exciting. It’s what every junior player in Canada play for the whole year. For us to be able to put a team together, and have an incredible group of guys on one team, it was something we knew was possible throughout the year and to get it was pretty amazing. A lot of guys up here who played junior said congratulations to me so it definitely means a lot and something I’ll have for the rest of my life.
CHB: You played with a lot of talented players last year – a lot of 1st, 2nd and 3rd round NHL draft picks. What did you learn from them?
Steven Anthony: Everyone on our team was so down-to-earth and so focused on the team. We knew we had some special players like Huberdeau, Beaulieu and Phillips, who were going to be high NHL draft picks, but we had a core of everybody together and (playing) as one team. I think, over the course of the year, everyone learned different things from one another. It was the closest team I’ve ever played on my life in terms of personalities.
CHB: What would you attribute that closeness to?
Steven Anthony: I think it was a big help to have two incredible coaches. They emphasized a lot of fun team activities and everyone getting together. They had everyone on the same page together and liking each other. It was a big reason why we were so successful throughout the year.
CHB: And that obviously translated on the ice.
Steven Anthony: Everyone was on the same page. Everyone knew the goal. Some teams are talented teams, but there are players who want to get points, there are players who want to go home early or something. This team was all about winning and that’s why were so successful.
CHB: What area of your game do you feel you improved on the most?
Steven Anthony: The area I improved the most was all areas, if that makes any sense. I tried to improve a lot (in terms) of completing my game. I’ve been told that I have a good skill set in terms of skating and size and puck mobility. I’ve tried to add a lot more to it and put it together, and work on the defensive side, faceoffs, penalty-killing, hitting guys more – just playing a complete game. Watching a lot of the guys on the Canucks like Kesler, Burrows and Malhotra – these guys are complete players who can do everything and I learned a lot from watching them in training camp and throughout the year.
CHB: What are your expectations this seasons?
Steven Anthony: I focus on what I can control. I can set a goal and say I want to play 3 exhibition games this year, but that’s all up to the coaches. I want to be able to play my way in to be able to play 3 exhibition games and see where that takes me. I’m coming into camp as focused as I can be, be as ready as I can be, and I think that’s going to translate into camp.
CHB: What about your expectations from this tournament?
Steven Anthony: After the last couple of years in Saint John – with us winning so much and having so much success as a team – I don’t want to get back to the feeling of losing again. I think everyone’s going to sit out a game because we have so many players, but I want us to be able to win every game and soak in the team atmosphere. It’s fun seeing other teams’ prospects, especially having the young guy Hopkins, the first overall pick. We had Hall here last year too. It’s gonna exciting, a lot of people are going to watch him, and you want to beat him.
CHB: Tell us about some of the guys you played with last year that are also in this tournament.
Steven Anthony: I’ve played with Yann Sauve for 3 years. We know each other. Ian Saab, he played in Lewiston last year, but he’s in Saint John this year so we know a lot of the same players. But another player, Michael Kirkpatrick, one of my closest friends in Saint John, he’s playing for the Winnipeg Jets team. Someone said that Winnipeg is rooming in the same hotel as us this week so I’ll have to give him a shout and see. He’s one of my good buddies for four years in Saint John so it’ll be cool to finally play against him.
CHB: And we have to ask you this… Which player would you compare yourself to?
Steven Anthony: Style-wise, I want to create my own game for myself, but there are a lot of players that I try to take things from. With my skating ability and size – and he’s a lot better than me – but the guy who I watched and tried to emulate in the Quebec league is Ryan Kesler. He’s one of my favorite players. In terms of the overall game that he brings, whether it’s his skating, his defense, or his offense, that’s something that I’ve tried to bring back this year.