Just a few minutes away from the Manitoba/North Dakota border lies a pretty little town named Morden. All 9,000 residents celebrated as one of their own was named to Canada's 2018 men's Olympic hockey team.
Not too many people outside of Morden have heard of Chay Genoway. The defenseman is a veteran of a single NHL game with the Minnesota Wild. He had previously starred with and served as captain of the University of North Dakota (following in the footsteps of his older brother Colby), but his lack of size (he is 5'9") and a serious concussion ensured he was never drafted by a NHL team.
In fact, when Genoway attended Shattuck-St. Mary's, the same prep school Sidney Crosby once played for, it was determined he was so small he would switch to forward.
"It seemed like size was starting to be a big factor in the game and I wasn't big enough to be a defenceman, and I tried and liked forward," Genoway said. "But I see the ice better when it's in front of me."
It is unusual to switch positions so drastically at that age, but it actually helped Genoway develop as a defenseman.
"When I played forward, I found myself trying to take care of my own zone, stuff like that on the defensive part, so it's not that big a deal," he smiled. "But I'm an offensive defenceman because of that.
Quickly Genoway became a key player and team captain of the University of North Dakota. Then a serious concussion cost him most of his third season. The loss greatly affected the team.
"In my time here, it's been the toughest single incident, or single loss for one of our teams to overcome," Coach Dave Hakstol said. "Chay was not only our most dynamic player, one of the top impact players in the country, he was also unquestionably our leader in the locker-room."
Genoway graduated in 2011 and was even named WHCA Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year. The Minnesota Wild signed him soon after, though he never really got a chance to play with the Wild beyond the one game.
Undeterred, Genoway played three seasons in the minor leagues, switching from the Wild to the Capitals system before disappearing to the KHL in 2014. The 31 year old is playing for Tolgatti Lada, some 1000kms south of Moscow.