High Park native preps for NHL

Cut from Canadian juniors motivates J.P. Anderson

J.P. Anderson is one of Canada’s most promising prospects between the pipes.

The Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors goaltender, a High Park native, has his eyes set on a professional career and is undeterred after being cut from Team Canada.

In December, 18-year-old Anderson participated in Canada’s selection camp for the 2011 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships.

It was a sad end, but worth the recognition and experience, Anderson said.

“Great players surround you and it becomes more challenging,” Anderson said the eve before team cuts.

“It helps your game develop and puts you on the map,” he said. “It’s a great accomplishment to get recognized, even if you don’t make it.”

Like many young Canadian players, Anderson hoped to play for his country in such a revered tournament. He said he finds the nationwide media coverage encouraging and motivating.

“Ever since my invitation to Team Canada, the attention on me grew and it was something I was not used to at all,” Anderson said. “I will stay focused on my game, but it’s also encouraging to see that they know who I am.”

The attention can also be attributed to his off-season signing with San Jose Sharks.

“Growing up I cheered for the Toronto Maple Leafs but now I guess my team is the Sharks,” Anderson chuckled. “You have to cheer for the team that you play for.”

Along with his professional contract and his current junior coach from the Majors, Dave Cameron, taking charge of Team Canada, Anderson was touted as having an advantage over other players.

But he didn’t buy into the rumours.

“I don’t believe that playing for Cameron helps my chances,” Anderson said. “He knows my game and there’s a lot of talent there … but I definitely have to try to earn my spot for Team Canada and you have to play hard for him or you won’t get it.”

Anderson credited High Park for his development in the game and said if it weren’t for his community, he wouldn’t have such a productive year.

“Warren Park is where I developed and learned how to play the game,” Anderson said. “It was essential to my development as a hockey player.”

Anderson didn’t always wear the pads. He started as a forward in his tyke days for the Warren Park Eagles, playing out of Lambton arena. Later he laced up the pads.

“When you play select or house league hockey, playing goalie always looked interesting, so one night our goalie couldn’t make it and I tried it out,” Anderson said. “He couldn’t make it a few times after and I would just step in. I liked playing in net.

“It was my place on the ice and I felt comfortable.”

About this article:

By: Christopher Sa'd
Posted: Dec 29 2010 5:03 pm
Filed in: Sports
Edition: Toronto