Game On Magazine September 2015 - Page 54

Jordan DePape: A career that’s a long way from over University of Manitoba Bisons head coach Mike Sirant calls Jordan DePape “an exceptional person.” Sirant calls him “everything we’re looking for in a Bisons hockey player.” That’s high praise for a young man who has overcome so much to play the game at the highest levels. By Mike Still and Scott Taylor Photos by Jeff Miller U niversity of Manitoba Bisons head coach Mike Sirant regards Jordan DePape almost with reverence. There aren’t many players as special as DePape on any hockey roster, Sirant is simply thrilled that he plays at the U of M. “He’s an exceptional person,” said Sirant recently. “He’s what we’re looking for in a Bisons hockey player. He not not excels at academics and is committed to community service, but he plays the game at a high level every day. Not just on weekends when we play games, but every day at practice. “How great is Jordan for our program? Well, he won the Dr. Randy Gregg award, a national CIS award that is handed out to the player who best represents high level of play, academics and community service. He should probably win it every year.” Jordan DePape’s statistics speak volumes about his skill, but it’s what he gives back to the game that is even more impressive. DePape, who will be entering his third season at the U of M this year, first laced up the skates at age four and has been hooked on the game ever since. When pressed, he’ll credit his brother Ryan, who is four years older, for getting him out onto the ice in the first place. “He was my older brother, so I always looked up to him and he was a role model,” DePape said. “I just wanted to do anything he did.” As the years progressed, young Jordan quickly began to make a name for himself. “I obviously just fell in love with the game,” he said. “And year by year I finally made my way into junior, and had a pretty successful career there. Now I’m here with the Bisons and it’s a great place to be.” By his own admission, his success started 54 GAME ON SEPTEMBER 2015 the age of 14 when the Brandon Wheat Kings drafted him into the WHL. At 16, he continued his momentum, being named the Manitoba Junior Hockey League rookie of the year, after an impressive 85-point campaign with the old Winnipeg Saints (now Virden Oil Capitals). The 2008-09 season quickly became a memorable one for DePape. Along with his top rookie selection, he was also named captain of Team Canada West for the 2009 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. The roster featured a number of big names including current St. Louis Blues star Jaden Schwartz. In 2009-10, DePape made his WHL debut with Brandon, but ultimately spent the majority of his four seasons in the WHL with the Kamloops Blazers. Seems he was traded by Brandon just 22 games into his rookie year. However, it was a great move. DePape made his name known very quickly, posting 78 points in his first two years in Kamloops. In 2011, after impressing with the Blazers, DePape was offered a free-agent tryout with the returning Winnipeg Jets. The experience was one that he said he will never forget, but