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A Christmas story: World Juniors

Tuesday, 12.26.2006 / 12:00 AM ET / News
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A Christmas story: World Juniors

Ian Walker/Vancouver Sun

Kenndal McArdle doesn't want your sympathy. Nor does his mother, Leilani McArdle.

That story's been done to death, they both say.

You know the one. Single mom scrimps and saves just to put food on the table each night, never mind second-hand skates on her child's feet. Boy defies the odds, goes on to be a top hockey prospect and is forced to leave home at an early age. Mom's home alone, phone calls and press clippings her only contact with her youngest child for eight months of the year.

And you know what? They're right. The McArdle story does deserve better than that. So do they.

What the McArdles want is for their story to inspire others. Just like others have inspired them.

So as the two spend their first Christmas apart -- Leilani here in Vancouver where she works as a civil servant with the B.C. Liquor Board; Kenndal in Sweden where he'll represent his country at the World Junior Hockey Championships -- this is their message of goodwill to all.

- - -

It had been a while since Leilani McArdle had last walked through the front doors of the Burnaby Winter Club, but not long enough for her to forget the exact spot along the reinforced glass where she'd spent so many a chilly morning watching her son grow up.

Memories flood her mind as she sits staring at the clean sheet of ice before her.

The one that sticks out the most? Kenndal's first practice after moving to the decorated BWC from the Burnaby minor hockey association.

"His coach at the time, Steve Bradford, was teaching the kids the basics of skate edges -- nothing flashy, just the basics of skating," she recalls, her left hand lodged under her chin, propping up her head.

"It's the first real elite coaching he had. Over and over Steve would skate them and just the look on Kenndal's face ... he was just so happy.

"It's not that I don't appreciate the time and effort his minor hockey coaches put in -- because I do -- but he'd been through three coaches in one year in Burnaby minor the season before and if we didn't make the move he was going to quit. He just wanted to learn and get better and I couldn't afford the camps the other kids were getting. I remember Kenndal telling me if he couldn't skate the way he needed to skate, he wasn't going to continue."

If there's one thing Kenndal loves more than hockey, it's his mom. While the 19-year-old Vancouver Giant winger is quick to pass on thanks to all the coaches, parents and teammates who helped him along his path, he makes it clear that it's Leilani who deserves most of the credit.

"I don't think anyone can do anything by themselves, whether in sport or life," says Kenndal, who was selected in the first round of the 2005 National Hockey League entry draft by the Florida Panthers. "There's lots of people who have helped me along the way, but my mom is a huge part. If not for her I wouldn't be here in Europe, talking to you today.

"I still remember waking up for practice as a kid to the smell of her baking cinnamon buns. Not for me, but to sell to the parents at practice so she could pay for me to be there. She's been a huge help and that's something I will never forget."

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 79 15 39 10 54
J. Jokinen 81 8 36 -2 44
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
A. Ekblad 81 12 27 12 39
B. Boyes 78 14 24 11 38
A. Barkov 71 16 20 -4 36
J. Hayes 72 19 16 -4 35
B. Campbell 82 3 24 4 27
B. Pirri 49 22 2 6 24
D. Bolland 53 6 17 4 23
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 28 19 12 .921 2.35
A. Montoya 6 7 2 .892 3.01
 
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