A Cree hockey prospect living a childhood dream with the Habs is invited

It was Friday afternoon and Cree social media accounts started buzzing.

Israel Mianscum, a young Cree hockey prospect from the community of Mistissini, Quebec, had been invited to a development camp with the Montreal Canadiens hockey team.

« The whole nation is screaming for it…you see it on social media, » Israel’s father Louie Mianscum said, adding the invite came less than an hour after the NHL Draft was completed. in Montreal on Friday afternoon.

« He was always crazy about the Montreal Canadiens. It was one of his dreams to play for them, » said his mother Tiffany Neeposh Mianscum, who until the call was a dedicated Pittsburgh Penguins fan. .

He has always been crazy about the Montreal Canadiens.– Tiffany Neeposh Mianscum, the mother of Israel

Israel received the call while in Gatineau to play in a hockey tournament. Someone contacted his parents, who were in the stands, to make sure the 19-year-old answered his phone.

« It was very special, » Tiffany said. « Just seeing his facial expression. He had a big smile on his face…a smile I haven’t seen in a while. »

This summer, Israel trained in Châteauguay, on a break from his team, the Sherbrooke Phoenix, in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).

At the Canadiens practice rink

Now his parents, uncles and a few cousins ​​and other family members are at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard to watch the development camp action on the ice.

Tiffany Neeposh Mianscum, left, and Louie Mianscum, right, are the parents of Israel Mianscum. They are with their son at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard, Quebec, near Montreal. Tiffany, a former die-hard Pittsburgh Penguins fan, says she now proudly wears the Canadiens logo. (submitted by Tiffany Neeposh Mianscum)

« I told him to play his best and that we are already very proud of him, » Tiffany said.

« And I told him that I love him and that we support him 110%. »

On the drive from Gatineau to Brossard, Israel and his dad talked about his hockey journey and his goals.

« [I told him] The invitation is just the beginning. Your hard work…you need to show them now. The luck is there,” Father Louie said.

[I told him]…you need to show them now. Luck is there.– Louie Mianscum, the father of Israel

A total of 40 players are taking part in the Canadiens’ development camp, which runs until July 13 at the Brossard rink, according to a press release from the organization. Among them are recently drafted players, such as Juraj Slafkovsky and Filip Mesar.

Israel did not skate with the rest of development camp on Monday due to a hamstring injury, but the hope is that they will have a chance on Tuesday morning.

The manager of Cree Nation Bears was also invited

The Canadiens also invited guest coach and director of the Cree Nation Bears hockey program, Charly Washipabano, to his coaching development camp. Washipabano is also the program coordinator for the Eeyou Istchee Sports and Recreation Association. He will accompany the Canadiens coaches on the ice during the sessions.

« This is huge indeed, and something I obviously don’t take for granted. I couldn’t feel luckier and honored by such an opportunity, » Washipabano wrote on social media, adding that what Israel accomplished by receiving his invitation is « enormous for all of us in the Cree Nation. »

Mianscum, pictured around the age of 5, started playing hockey at age two in Mistissini in northern Quebec. At age 11, he followed his talent to Oujé-Bougoumou to play for the Cree Nation Bears. (submitted by Tiffany Neeposh Mianscum)

Raymond Shanoush is president of the Eeyou Istchee Sports and Recreation Association.

« It means a lot [for Israel] », Shanoush said. « They will be able to see him play…see his stamina…and his potential.”

As a potential professional hockey player from the North, Israel faced the isolation of leaving home at a young age to pursue his hockey dreams.

In her case, that meant leaving home at the age of 11 and moving to another Cree community of Oujé-Bougoumou.

« It’s a lonely road for him, » dad Louie said.

Views on the NHL

It also means that the house is rarely visited. Over the past three years, Israel has taken very few vacations, her father Louie said.

Along with the isolation, Israel and his family have also struggled with the high costs associated with playing hockey at this level. Before getting the invitation to join the Canadiens’ development camp, the 19-year-old had no place to stay and slept on a parent’s couch.

“We know he prepared for it. He only took a week off after the season. He’s been doing this for the last three summers. He’s really focused on trying to make it to the NHL,” said dad Louie, thanking his family and the entire team. Cree Nation for the support received so far.

Israel’s mother, Tiffany, says she now proudly wears a Montreal Canadiens jersey.

« My whole family is a Habs fan, » she said. « I’ve been a Pittsburgh fan for a long time. [I told Israel] the only time I will change teams is if you play for the Montreal Canadiens. »

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