Cheechoo collects the puck to head up ice.
San Jose's Jonathan Cheechoo: Helping the Sharks take a bite out of the NHL by NHL | June 4, 2004Back in 7th grade, Jonathan Cheechoo had to write an essay answering the question, Where will you be in 2002? His answer was simple: Playing for the San Jose Sharks.
While he knew where he was going to be, he probably could never have guessed how he was going to get there. Cheechoo's crazy trip began in Moose Factory, a 3-mile island in Ontario's James Bay that is home to 2000 members of the Cree Nation. Because of the remote location of Moose Factory, there was little real competitive hockey close to home. As a young teenager Jonathan moved seven hours away to Timmons, Ontario to play in the same town where his father had attended high school. In 1997, he was picked 5th by the Belleville Bulls in the Ontario Hockey League draft. He had 76 points and was named to the All-Rookie team. That impressed the San Jose Sharks enough to use the 29th pick to draft Cheechoo in 1998. The next stop on his journey was Lexington, Kentucky and the American Hockey League. To get to his games, Jonathan's parents took a 7-minute ride in a motorized canoe, a 5-hour train ride to Cochran, a 10-hour drive to Toronto and then another 10-hour drive to Kentucky. After a year in Kentucky and two years playing for the AHL's Cleveland Barons, Cheechoo became the second Cree Indian to play in the NHL when he made his Sharks debut in 2002.
On October 24, 2002, Cheechoo scored his first NHL goal: a game-winner against the Nashville Predators. He played in 66 games during that season and finished with 16 points. In 2003-2004, Cheechoo played in 81 regular-season games and scored 28 goals and added 19 assists. The Sharks made the playoffs this season and Cheechoo had 10 points in 17 games.
San Jose may not have made it to the Finals this year, but be sure to follow Cheechoo and the Sharks next year to see how far they go!
Cheechoo puts a move on Calgary's Steve Montador.
What is your favorite movie of all-time? Good Will Hunting
What's the best part about playing in the NHL? Getting to play against the best in the world
Do you hang out with your teammates after games? Sometimes we go out to eat
Favorite kind of pizza? Pepperoni
What was your favorite/least favorite part about school? History class was my favorite
What's a part of your game that you want to improve the most? My skating
Do you play any musical instruments? No
What about playing in the NHL has surprised you the most? The speed of the game
How do you pass the time when you travel? [read, play cards, etc] Read and watch movies
Is there an NHL player you'd like to have your picture taken with? Joe Sakic
What is your favorite thing to order from room service? Steak
Some kids reading this have never heard of your hometown - Moose Factory, Ontario. Is there a reason behind that name? Just that it is a native reservation.
San Jose Sharks
Name: Jonathan Cheechoo
Hometown: Moose Factory, Ontario