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Marco Insam: A Profile on the Niagara Ice Dog's Forward

By: Jeff Blay


For one Italian athlete, his dreams were never to play World Cup Soccer. Instead he spent most of his childhood lacing up his skates, taping his stick, and stepping out onto the rink. With hopes of one day playing professional hockey, 20-year-old Marco Insam is one step closer to his dream. Picked up by the OHL’s Niagara Ice Dogs, the Selva Gardena native is one of the few Italian-born players to make it into North American competitive hockey.

Insam was born in the small town of Selva Gardena in Northern Italy, and grew up around ski resorts and hockey rinks, and began taking skating lessons in kindergarten. His father was strongly involved in hockey with the Italian National team as well as the Olympic team, and moved his family to Milan as he took a General Manager/coaching position for a team located there. Marco’s decision to take hockey seriously was largely due to his father’s passion for the sport. Marco remembers hanging around the rink as a little kid when his father was coach of the National team. He grew up admiring the older Italian players, and dreamed of one day playing along side them representing his country.

Marco put in a solid effort as a young player in Italy, and made the choice to move to Canada to improve his hockey skills when he was only15. Marco attended a private school in Saskatchewan called the College of Notre Dame where he excelled on and off the ice, making his dream become reality.

Marco played for Italy in the U-18 world juniors, three times in the U-20 world juniors, and when he was just 18-yeard old, he made the senior team for the Quebec City World Tournament.

“It is a great experience to represent your country in the sport of hockey,” said Insam. “I got to play with a lot of old friends from back home, and it was nice to see them again.”

Insam said it was a difficult decision to leave his family at such an early age, but he now knows he made the right one. According to Insam, it is a complete different level of hockey in North America. It is home to the best junior leagues in the world (the CHL) and Marco hopes to play competitive hockey in North America as long as he can. Marco continues to get the support of his family from back home. His parents watch the IceDogs games over the internet, and his father still gives him tips about his play.

“It is really important to have the support of my parents and family,” he said. “I would not be here without them.”

Insam travels back to Italy at Christmas and over the summer, but comes back to Niagara in June to work out with teammates at the team facilities. His support here in Canada comes from his billets (the people who house him in Niagara during the IceDog’s season), his teammates, and in particular, the parents of teammate Reggie Traccitto.

“I am really close with Reggie and his parents,” said Marco. “They always help me out when I’m having a tough time, and give me good advice and support off the ice.”

Marco has enjoyed his tenure in the CHL, and says he could not have asked for a better organization to be apart of in the IceDogs.

“The IceDog organization really spoils us,” he said. “The new coaches this year are really good; a lot of them had experience in the NHL, so they really know their stuff.”

Being 20 years of age, Marco is in his last eligible year as an OHL player (otherwise known as an over-ager.) He plans to take his future career in hockey day by day, but his main goal is to stay in North America to continue his hockey career.


The Dangerous Side of the Good Ol'Hockey Game

Ex St. Catharines Falcon Riley Sheahen an 'A' player in 2010 scouting report

St. Catharines native and ex hometown hero with the JR. B Falcons, has caught the eye of top scouts in the NCAA portion of the scouting report.

A short feature on read:

"The American college hockey season is just getting underway, but there already have been a few standouts.

NHL Central Scouting's list of players to watch includes Notre Dame freshman center Riley Sheahen. Rated an 'A' player by Central Scouting, the 6-foot-1, 202-pound center has 2 goals and 7 points in 11 games.

Last season, playing with the St. Catharines Falcons of the Ontario Hockey Association's Golden Horseshoe League, he had 27 goals and 73 points."

Congrats to Riley, and lookout for the soon to be 18 year-old hometown kid to be up in the show in a few years. He is projected to go in the first round.

- Jeff Blay

Stefan Della Rovere: Candidate for World Juniors Team Canada Captain?

A majority of the Canadian World Junior team has been lost to the NHL, or over-age.

John Taveres, Jamie Benn, Evander Kane, and possibly Alex Pietrangelo are all up in the show. PK Subban is playing with the Hamilton Bulldogs in the AHL, and will not be returning to the World Juniors.

So that leaves only a few vetern junior players to lead team Canada. Ryan Ellis, Cody Hodgson, and of course, the talk of last years tournament with his big hits and gutsy play, Stefan Della Rovere. New additions in Brayden Schenn, Taylor Hall, Luke Pither, and Nazim Kadri just to name a few, all make for great possibilities in leaders, but I'd like to take a long shot and go with the underdog in Della Rovere.

What a beauty this kid is. Suffering a shoulder injury in the Washington Capitals camp, he missed the first couple games of the OHL season with the Barrie Colts. But upon his return, he has proved once again his leadership is valued on and off the ice for the Colts, and there is no question why the organization has place the 'C' on his chest once again.

Now with 21 games played, the physical forward has recorded 8 goals and 9 assists, with a + 7 rating, and lets not forget the 42 penalty minutes.

Some would criticize him to have taken "stupid" penalties in the last World Junior Championship. But the team still won, didn't they? And people seem to forget that after some of those big hits, Canada scored. Della Rovere is always good to let out a scream or a big smile to his bench after crushing one of his opponents, and I have no doubt that any of his teammates on the gold medal winning team last year would agree that he is an asset to the team.

He is known as a voice in the locker room, on the ice, and a relatively skilled player for the amount of physicality he shows in his play. Although world hockey tournaments are more known as a finesse type of game, I still believe that this gutsy kid shows promise and would make a great leader. I'm sure my wishful thinking of him wearing the 'C' for Canada this year will be widely questioned, but I am quite sure that he will at LEAST end up with an 'A'.

Only time will tell.

- Jeff Blay

Why Andrew Shaw is making a case that size isn't everything in professional puck.

Andrew Shaw. Where to start.
This kid was floating around the 3rd and fourth line last year for the Niagara Ice Dogs, clocking in at a whopping 165 lbs standing at 5'11''. Yet, the now 18 year old Shaw has worked hard in the off season, toning up to 175 lbs and proving his ability not only to agitate on the ice, but be a value to the IceDogs power play and top scoring lines.

Shaw is a kid with heart, and it shows in his play. This year there has been a noticeable change in his skill level. He has been winning battles to the puck in the corners, and showing his speed by keeping up and fitting in well with the IceDogs top-line forwards, making his number 15 known on the ice game after game.

His physical play has only gotten better. Finishing checks (like the one with 2 seconds remaining in the Saginaw game, absolutely flatting one of their forwards), and still following in the footsteps of his father by backing down to absolutely no one in the fight department. This kid will take on any enforcer despite any weight difference, and usually has his way with them. His fighting style reminds me of Wendel Clark's - going in throwing, while at the same time standing his ground, and able to switch-up to a powerful left. Not to mention he can ragdoll guys who have a significant weight advantage on him. After the fight, he is always good to get his bench going and keep a smile on his face, without show boating.

Shaw's fight against Saginaw's Garret Ross on Thursday Nov. 12 was featured on Sportsnet Connected's top ten fights of the week.

The Bellville native has some hands on him too - showing his dangling ability several times this year (i've witnessed a few dandy toe drags and splits of the D), and getting shots on net. One game I recorded at least 6 or 7 shots on net, and Coach McCourt obviously see's these improvements as well, as he gives the young centre a lot more time on the ice.

With 2 goals, 9 assists, and 49 penalty minutes on the season, the IceDog forward was just bumped to 6th on the team in scoring, as Reggie Traccitto has been on a hot streak over the past few games, and now has 4 goals and 8 assists.

Look for Shaw to keep this play up for the rest of the season, recording more points and have more Top ten worthy tillies. Although Shaw is on the smaller side, he is making a great case that he could be an interested for an NHL draft pick in the future. His work ethic is there, and he definitely has the ability to bulk up and fill out that 5'11'' frame. Johnson Andrews used to weigh in at 180 in his career with the Thorold Blackhawks, and is now 205.

If Shawsie keeps up his stellar play and shows his grit, he could be a key part in the IceDogs future, and I am willing to vogue that he could one day make a solid draft pick for an NHL team. Hell, I'd take him any day to fit in my favourite team on the 4th line of the San Jose Sharks. He reminds me of a Brad Staubitz, but with a bit more hockey sense.

I'll be keeping an eye on Shaw this year, and I look forward to seeing what else he can bring to the table in the ladder half of the season.

Watch out for Shaw.

- Jeff Blay

Humber College Pub

Last year marked the end of an era with the closure of Caps Pub. This year Humber has been without a pub so far, as the opening of LinX has been delayed. Booths, TV’s, better food, and a better atmosphere were promised to students last year and with none of that evident at the preview pub night, one can only hope these changes are being made for the official opening. It would be nice for LinX to be not only a Thursday night dance party, but an everyday social hub for students at Humber.

The first pub night was long awaited. Although only a preview, there was already disappointingly huge line outside of the LX building at 9 p.m., and the excruciating wait was longer than an hour. When students were finally granted access into the building, just inside the doors was another line equally as long. Yes folks, you had to wait in two lines to get into the bar. Not to mention bathroom facilities were not available to the students waiting in line. Most people can attest that when you’re going to the pub, chances are you have already had a couple drinks. Having to wait for over an hour before a bathroom is available does not cut it.

The lack of facilities along with the excessive amount of police and security felt like you were an inmate going to see Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, but without the Cash. It is understood that having a weekly pub night will draw a larger than normal crowd, but something needs to be done to address the needs of students and make it feel like your entering a college pub, not a major club or venue. A college bar should be easily accessible, and not have a security-heavy feel of a downtown club.

It has been taken into account that LinX was far from finished, but in my opinion it was not quite ready to host even a preview pub night. The atmosphere was not at all different than Caps. In fact, it was worse. Murmurs from people around the room deemed that it felt similar to a high school dance, and I could not have described it better myself.

Hopefully the promises made last year will be evident by opening night, and LinX will finally bring a college pub atmosphere to Humber. I want to be able to go to the pub any given day and enjoy a meal or watch a hockey game, without house music in the background. It should be an alternative to sitting in the cafeteria or the lounge, where fellow students can socialize and feel like it is their own local pub.

- Jeff Blay

Niagara Ice Dogs vs. Saginaw Spirit (Nov. 12, 2009)

IceDogs take the spirit out of Saginaw

By: Jeff Blay

Reggie Traccitto’s power play goal midway through the third period gave the IceDogs the edge they needed to upend the Saginaw Spirit in this exciting Thursday night match-up. Petteri Simila got the start in net and recorded his first win of the season by stopping 29 shots.

Former Ice Dog Barry Sanderson opened the scoring for Saginaw early in the first, and rookie Ivan Telegin followed up giving the Spirit an early 2-0 lead.

Keith Maisonville was called on a hooking penalty at 13:36 in the first, but the Dogs killed it off and were soon rewarded with a power play after Saginaw forward Garret Ross took a holding penalty.

Shortly after a scoreless power play, Freddie Hamilton netted his tenth of the season after taking a beautiful backhanded pass from Aggozino at the 19:06 mark of the first period, giving the Dogs some life.

Hamilton was also honored during the game as the Academic player of the month, with a GPA of 98.5%.

The second period got off to a booming start as fan favourite Andrew Shaw dropped the gloves right off the opening face-off with Saginaw enforcer Garret Ross. After a fairly even tilt, Shaw got the take down and got the fans going.

Hasson used the fight as a motivator and scored his first goal of the season at 8:50 of the second period, giving the game an even 2-2 score.

Saginaw took another three penalties in the second period, giving the IceDogs a few more power play opportunities. Chris Desousa shortened the third power play by taking a tripping penalty, but no goals came out of the special teams play.

In the third, Niagara kept up the momentum as Marco Insam scored a much needed goal 2:54 into the period. Insam had not recorded a point in 15 games – now standing with 4 goals and 4 assists on the season.

It didn’t take long for the Spirit to even up, as Atlanta Thrashers draft pick Cody Sol scored shortly after.

Freddie Hamilton drew a penalty at 12:42 in the third period as Spirit captain Tyler Murovich gave him a couple shots in front of the IceDog net.

Murovich proceeded on to chip at Reggie Traccitto, but the IceDog defender stayed composed allowing him to score the game-winning power play goal.

It was all Niagara from there, as Agozzino and Fritsch both chipped in with a goal each to give the IceDogs a commanding 6-3 lead late in the third. Shayne Rover recorded his first OHL point with the assist on Fritsch’s goal.

Alex Frisen, who did not play due to an injury he received during the game vs. Erie, was honored at the beginning of the night as the player of the month.

The Shaw brothers will return to their hometown Saturday as the IceDogs begin their weekend road trip in Bellville Saturday night, then traveling to Ottawa to face the 67’s for a Sunday afternoon match-up.


1. SAG Sanderson, (6) (Pleckaitis, Murovich), 1:44

1. SAG Telegin, (15) (Skellett), 12:51

1. NIAG Hamilton, (10) (Agozzino), 19:06

2. NIAG Hasson, (1) (Andrews), 8:50

3. NIAG Insam, (4) , 2:54

3. SAG Sol, (4) , 4:51

3. NIAG Traccitto, (4) (Agozzino, Hamilton), 13:07 (PP)

3. NIAG Agozzino, (13) (Petgrave, Traccitto), 14:55 (PP)

3. NIAG Fritsch, (5) (Hamilton, Rover), 18:44

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