Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia hockey players' shinny game caught on video

Nova Scotia hockey stars challenge each other to shinny games at local rinks during the off-season, and one independent sports reporter has been there to record it.

'The intensity just, just leaps off the ice,' says sports reporter John Moore

Andrew MacDonald of the Philadelphia Flyers, Nathan MacKinnon of the Colorado Avalanche, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins on the ice last week at the BMO Centre in Bedford. (John Moore/Sports and Moore)

Nova Scotia's hockey heroes don't take summers off.

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby, Colorado Avalanche's Nathan MacKinnon, Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand and Philadelphia Flyers' Andrew MacDonald train and play shinny at local rinks, and independent sports reporter John Moore has been invited there to watch it.

"It's sunny and hot outside, and yet these NHLers are going in, and they have an hour and a half of ice — and it's not simply to skate," he said.

"The intensity just, just leaps off the ice at you. They're competitive, and it doesn't matter whether it's an NHL game in overtime in Pittsburgh or if it's a shinny game."

John Moore interviewing a young Jonathan Drouin when he was drafted by the Halifax Mooseheads. (John Moore/Sports and Moore)

Practices caught on video

The long-time journalist runs the hockey news site Sports and Moore, and has announced Halifax Mooseheads games for almost two decades. Those years of working the beat have given him exclusive access to players that can bring thousands out to Stanley Cup parades.

He mostly recently filmed a practice held at the BMO Centre in Bedford last week. The footage, with no commentary, is far from the media coverage the men try to avoid in the off-season, particularly questions about their personal lives.

"I've covered them from a very early age, and they trust me," Moore said. 

"They know my work, and they have a relationship with me, therefore, they're willing to let me in."

'Want to win'

That relationship dates back to Moore's covering Crosby as a young player for the Rimouski Océanic in Rimouski, Que.

On the ice, the players are competitive, but also friends, Moore said.

"They want to win, and it's pretty evident that they all have that competitive fire," he said.

Thousands of hockey fans lined Cole Harbour streets for a parade featuring Sidney Crosby and the Stanley Cup. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Marchand 'as fiery as ever'

Sometimes that breaks into "a little push and shove in the corner," Moore said, often involving Brad Marchand, a player known for on-ice scuffles.

"Brad is as fiery as ever, and he competes hard," Moore said.

"But there's no, certainly, hard feelings. They enjoy getting together — really, they've become friends even though they play for various teams, and they're rivals in many ways."

Brad Marchand brings his fiery on-ice reputation to shinny games, too. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

'Fit together'

Moore said Marchand works particularly well with Crosby, causing him to speculate whether the duo might make a good pair for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.

"Sometimes players seem to fit together, and certainly on that given day, they could do no wrong. They were dominating," he said.

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby celebrates by lifting the Stanley Cup during the Victory Parade and Rally in Pittsburgh. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

'Where they grew up'

Crosby and MacKinnon have a close friendship, as well, Moore said.

Overall, the practices appear to foster mentorship between the more senior players and younger ones, he said.

'It's a great group," Moore said. "They thoroughly enjoy coming home, being here where they grew up, and getting to play."