Maniago honoured at Blades-Kamloops game
Former teammate scores twice in Blades' win Tuesday
By Cory Wolfe
December 3, 2008
KAMLOOPS, B.C. -- An Interior Savings Centre crowd of 4,140 honoured the memory of former WHL goaltender Michael Maniago with a moment of silence Tuesday.
Saskatoon Blades forward Adam Chorneyko paid tribute to his old pal -- who died Saturday in a Calgary auto accident -- by scoring twice. Blades captain Derek Hulak did the same, netting his second of the night 2:15 into overtime as the visitors beat the Kamloops Blazers 4-3.
Chorneyko, who played with Maniago in both Kamloops and Lethbridge, said the goaltender's enthusiasm was contagious.
"He went out of his way to make you feel good about yourself. There's nothing better than coming to your everyday job and seeing a guy with a smile on his face.
"It's tough to see things that bad happen to good people."
Maniago, 20, died early Saturday morning after a two-vehicle collision in his hometown of Calgary. He was behind the wheel of a Volkswagen Jetta that was struck by a Toyota 4Runner. Police said alcohol was a factor on the part of the SUV driver.
Maniago and Chorneyko broke into the WHL together as 16-year-old rookies with the Kamloops Blazers in 2004-05. The following season, they were roommates. They parted ways briefly when Chorneyko was dealt to the Lethbridge Hurricanes, but they reunited a few months later when Maniago was traded to the same southern Alberta city.
Last season, the pair helped Lethbridge advance to the WHL final.
"Manny has always been a great goalie," said Chorneyko.
"He got stuck behind Devan Dubnyk (in Kamloops) and it's tough to steal a job from that guy. He's playing in the (American Hockey League) right now.
"But we all knew Manny was a good goalie. He proved himself and he helped us get to where we were last year as a team."
Chorneyko was in Prince George with his Saskatoon teammates when he heard about his friend's death.
"There were never problems with Mike," said Chorneyko, cracking a smile. "It brings a smile to my face right now because I think of all the times he'd come to the rink and be so happy and jittery.
"But it's so tough. I really don't know what to say."
The Blades (20-7-2-0) won their 10th straight road game. Saskatoon native Jimmy Bubnick forced overtime by scoring with 38 seconds left in regulation.
Brendan Ranford and ex-Blade Kenton Dulle also scored for Kamloops (13-14-1-3).
Justin Leclerc, a Saskatoon product, made 38 saves for the Blazers. Braden Holtby kicked out 23 for the Blades.
BLADE BITS: The Blades continue their B.C. trip tonight against the Kelowna Rockets. Saskatoon then plays Friday in Chilliwack and Saturday in Vancouver. . . . Kamloops RW Tyler Shattock sat out Tuesday's game to complete a two-game suspension for his hit on Regina Pats D Mike Scarborough. Shattock received a major penalty for interference during the Blazers' 8-5 win Friday. Scarborough suffered a broken nose and a concussion on the play. . . This morning, Hockey Canada plans to announce the roster for the national junior team selection camp. Team brass planned to ask the Minnesota Wild about Colton Gillies's availability. The former Saskatoon captain has been a healthy scratch in 11 of Minnesota's 23 games this season. . . . Another former Blade captain, Justin McCrae, is now wearing the 'C' for the Spokane Chiefs. He was awarded the extra piece of alphabet this week after returning from an early-season knee injury.
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