RED DEER – This month’s Alumni Spotlight focuses on Jordan Kanygin, formerly of the Calgary Buffaloes.
A product of Hockey Calgary’s Midnapore Minor Hockey Association (now the Knights Hockey Club), Jordan began playing minor hockey when he was six years-old, but said his passion for the game was evident long before that.
“The first hockey stick I ever held was a miniature rubber play toy,” he said. “I couldn’t quite walk, but I could stand long enough to watch the older kids play road hockey outside my window and knew I wanted to do that too.”
After playing in the 2005 Alberta Cup with Team Calgary South, Jordan first played with the Calgary Buffaloes association in 2005-06 with the CBHA U16 AAA Blackhawks, and after affiliating for a pair of games in 2006-07, played with the Calgary U18 AAA Buffaloes in the 2007-08 season, which culminated in a Provincial Championship, and a trip to the 2008 Telus Cup in Arnprior, ON.
Jordan points to his final season in minor hockey as his most memorable.
“I had made the team after being cut the year before and we didn’t really know what to expect for our team that year,” he said. “We went on to win the league championships, then won the divisional rights to head to the Telus Cup, the national midget championship. In our run to nationals, the arena was packed for nearly all of our games, and it was so fun to play and win with that group of players.”
He said working his way up the ranks of Hockey Calgary was instrumental in shaping who he was as a hockey player, and as a person.
“Minor hockey certainly taught me the hard work that was needed to reach and succeed at the higher levels,” Jordan said. “Our hockey association growing up was pretty big, and there were a lot of good players, so it took a lot of practice to make the higher divisions. We also had a good rivalry with other associations, made up of school friends, that taught us what it was like to win and lose.”
Jordan added that a lot of his success in hockey came from him being a multi-sport athlete, specifically with playing box lacrosse.
“I can’t stress enough the importance of trying out a different sport in the off-season,” he said. “It’ll introduce you to different people, build different skills and help you avoid the possible burnout some hockey players may experience after playing years and years of year-round hockey.”
After graduating from Midget hockey, Jordan played one season in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, split between the Calgary Royals and the Calgary Canucks. He played one more season of competitive hockey with the CBHA Junior B Rangers in 2010-11 before starting the Radio, Television and Broadcast News program at SAIT, but that wasn’t the end of his involvement in hockey.
Jordan took his love of the game from the ice to the press box, calling games for the SAIT Trojans’ Men’s and Women’s hockey teams while working towards his diploma in Broadcast News, and also spent a season as the Colour Commentator for the Okotoks Oilers of the AJHL. Following his stay in Okotoks, and a stint with CHAT TV in Medicine Hat, Jordan’s broadcasting career has led him back home to Calgary, where he is a reporter with CTV.
“Hockey was the reason I went into broadcasting,” he said. “I knew I wanted to be able to follow the game and cover sports as a career and figured becoming a reporter would help me do that.”
Jordan’s advice to young athletes is simple: find joy in the game.
“You get older and play at higher levels with stiffer competition, hockey can sometimes feel like an obligation,” he said. “The more you play and the better competition you face, the more you will have to practice, hit the gym, watch your nutrition, worry about lineups and points and stats. It can be a lot. Remember that hockey is a joy and a privilege to play.”