To say that Elias Ghantous had a huge season last year would be an understatement. In his fourth and final season with the Carleton Place Canadians, Ghantous captained and lead his squad to not only win the Bogart Cup but the Fred Page Cup as well. If it weren’t for a couple of brief moments in the last game of the Royal Bank Cup tournament that showcases that countries best Junior A teams, he could have put RBC Cup champion on his resume. However, being second in the country isn’t a bad showing either. It’s also not very often that a bodycheck from the CCHL makes Yahoo Sports either.
Ghantous is currently suiting up for his first season at Robert Morris University. I caught up with him to talk about his amazing final Junior A season.
March Hockey: What was like to captain the Carleton Place Canadians last year? Did you feel you needed to change your ways as a player?
Elie Ghantous: Not at all, I just knew that i was going to be a big influence on my teammates and made sure my work ethic was perfect in order to make them better. I loved being the captain, I feel like I’ve always been a leader and it really helped that every one last year was on board with our team goal.
MH: Of course winning the Fred Page Cup is a huge accomplishment as a Captain in that you’ve lead your team to the holy grail. How did you and the team prepare for that series and what was it like to finally raise the cup?
EG: The Fred Page Cup was a great experience as a team. It sort of brought back the minor hockey tournament feel in all of us and it was just exciting. The captains all played an important role in maintaining the team focused. We had a lot of things up against us; we were mistreated at times but we managed to push through that and go undefeated. Lifting that cup was a great feeling (a lot heavier than I expected!) and it made us realize that we had our ticket to the Nationals. I still remember it like it was yesterday.
MH: Making the finals of the RBC Cup is an even bigger accomplishment! I remember smiling as I saw a team from the CCHL on TSN. How was the experience of playing hockey in front of a national audience for you? Was it intimidating with not only the media but the weight of the tournament itself?
EG: Playing at the RBC cup was a dream come true. The atmosphere was just awesome and Team Canada ran a top notch tournament. We had access to food, gatorade, and water at any time. It made us feel like a professional team and it showed in our play. Playing in the final game I was very nervous at first but I remembered that all my friends and family were watching back home and all I wanted to do was play hockey. Most definitely the best hockey experience of my life so far.
MH: This is your first year suiting up for the Robert Morris Colonials of Robert Morris University. How did you prepare during the offseason for your first NCAA season?
EG: I trained at the Ottawa Sports Performance Centre, like I have for almost 8 summers now and I just focused on my foot speed. My workout partners are also NCAA athletes and I received a lot of knowledge through them about what i needed to work on. Lifting 5 days a week and skating twice a week was what I did and i enjoyed every second of it.
MH: Where do you see your hockey career taking you?
EG: I hope to one day, like any other hockey player, play professional hockey. I realize now that it is very hard to make it to a professional league so going to school gives me something to fall back on. Hockey has brought me here so far and I’m already ecstatic about where I am now.
MH: Who do you look up to most if anybody for your style of play?
EG: I’ve always admired Scott Stevens. He was feared by all in the league and with obvious reasons. His defensive play and hard hits and synonymous with my style. He was also a great leader and won the Stanley Cup 3 times.
MH: If you could play against any player from any decade, who would it be and why?
EG: The league is just so good now that I would love to play against anyone in the league. But first I would love the opportunity to make one of those teams. If I were to pick one person, it would be Sidney Crosby. I would like to play against him just to compare myself to the very best and see how I would do.
Thanks so much for your answers Elie! I’m going to check in with you half way through the season and see how far you’ve come along with the Colonials! All the best for the first part!
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