OPP Hockey Athletes Play for Team Canada

Canada Day meant a little more this year with the celebration of Canada’s 150th. And what’s more Canadian than hockey? Recently a few Okanagan Peak Performance Inc clients have been suiting up for Canada in international play.

Alex Swetlikoff

We’ve had the privilege of working with Alex Swetlikoff for a number of years now going back. I believe it started when he was 9 years old and he was training with players like Gio Sambrielaz, Isaac Dutka and Chase Stevenson. Alex would have been 3-4 years younger than the other guys he was training with and although he had specific exercises and drills based on his age and stage of development he learned a great example from the older guys. And from his brother Jordan who we worked with a number of years before Alex came to us.

And since he was younger Alex was one of the smaller hockey players we worked with. He was average size for his age but obviously smaller than the older players and his siblings.

That has all changed.

Alex is now 6’3″ and I would guess 180 pounds. And he just turned 16 years old. All his hard work and the positive example of those before him is starting to pay off. He had a great experience at Yale Academy in Abbotsford and has now committed to play for the University of Denver (NCAA Div 1) after high school. For the coming season Alex will suit up for the Vernon Vipers. And most recently he was invited by Hockey Canada to try out for the U-17 team.

Alex with Team White at Team Canada tryouts.

Alex with Team White at Team Canada tryouts.

Garrett and Tammy have done an impressive job raising a great athlete in Alex. He’s always polite, respectful and finishes every training session by coming over to thank me and to shake my hand. It’s going to be exciting to follow his career as the future sure looks bright for him.

Brandon McMillan

Every now and again an athlete will come through our doors that just impresses us with their athleticism. And when it comes to Brandon McMillan this shouldn’t have been a surprise.

You see when Brandon was playing Junior hockey with the Kelowna Rockets he was a forward. However there was a season when injuries forced the coaching staff to move him back as a d-man. And not only did he not struggle on the back end he was one of the better rearguards. This is even more impressive when you consider the Rockets defensemen at the time included the likes of future NHLers Luke Schenn, Tyler Myers and Tyson Barrie. And I seem to remember him being reassigned as a d-man for the gold medal game at the World Junior tournament against the US.

So, yeah I guess you could say Brandon is a versatile, athletic and gifted athlete.

And Team Canada knows this as well by naming him to their tryout squad for the upcoming Olympics in South Korea.

Brandon McMillan at the Socchi Hockey Open.

Brandon McMillan at the Socchi Hockey Open.

Even more exciting is the pending arrival of Brandon and Loretta’s first child due later this month. So lots to celebrate in the McMillan household.

Cody Almond

In life you’ll have some relationships that will last a lifetime. Such is the case with Cody Almond. This summer during a break in training we were reminiscing and realized we’ve had a 11 year relationship. This has included many chances to go and watch Cody play with the highlight being a visit to see him play in Switzerland.

Cody at the World Championships.

Cody at the World Championships.

This is when I saw the transition from a great hockey player to a true, elite professional doing all the little things to constantly get better. He is now a chef cooking some amazing and nutritious meals. He has become an academic and is interested in finance, real estate and investing. He even loaded me up with a number of great books for my train ride to St Moritz. And in his downtime he has become quite the guitar player taking lessons and working on different pieces.

Foodie. Academic. Musician.

Who is this renaissance man? And what have you done with the Cheetah I knew?

The more established Cody gets in his career the more focussed he gets and the more success he is having. And since he has dual citizenship it looks like Switzerland will be grabbing him for their Olympic roster. While it will be our (Canada’s) loss I couldn’t be prouder of the success he’s had and to see him play in the Olympics.

Next up – Axana Merckx

Although we’re talking about hockey we’ve had some other athletes having success in their sports as well. Stay tuned for a future post on swimmer Axana Merckx.

 

 

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