ILLUSTRATIONS - THEO LAMAR
For eight seasons, Mark Scheifele has played for the Winnipeg Jets.
Born in Kitchener, Ontario, he was drafted as the Atlanta Thrashers relocated to Canada, giving Winnipeg a second chance at an NHL franchise. Heading into this new season, Scheifele’s looking to continue to have an impact as a skilled offensive force in the league.
Playing for the Jets is a special experience because Winnipeg is a hockey-loving city getting a second chance at being an NHL town. How do the fans compare to other cities?
It’s awesome being a Canadian kid playing in a Canadian market. The fans in Winnipeg are so passionate and have so much love for the game. For a guy who loves the game as much as I do, I appreciate how much they care for us and the team, and take care of us in the community.
You played your rookie year as the Jets returned to Winnipeg. While it was all brand new to you, it was also a new experience for the whole organization. What was that first year like?
I was with a lot of guys who had been in the league for a long time, but it was cool coming up with a team that was in a new city. In a new city, everyone is trying new restaurants, new food, and finding new places to live. That kind of thing brought us closer together.
You've scored 151 NHL goals in your career. What do you remember about your first goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs on their home ice, of all teams?
Growing up close to Toronto, it was very special. Having my friends and family all there for the game made it that much more so. That moment replays in my mind a few times a year. It humbles me and brings me back up when I look where I was eight years ago, and where I am now. In terms of scoring my first goal against Toronto, I was never a Leafs fan. We were always Detroit Red Wings fans growing up. The Leafs were actually our least favourite team growing up, so it made it that much more sweet.
What does it take to be able to score a single goal in the NHL?
I think what a lot of people don’t realize is how many good things have to happen on a play to score a goal. There has to be some nice passes and good plays across the entire ice to create a goal. When you actually look back at a goal, you see how many plays were made and where a mistake might have been made to score that goal. That’s something that a hockey-junkie like me really appreciates, watching a nice hockey goal or being part of one. There’s no better feeling.
What are your personal goals this season to help your team win?
It’s always team-based. Whatever I’m doing as a player, you want it to be the best thing to help your team. Team success is the biggest thing. Everything that I do is for the team and to make the team better. That’s how I view my success and how I set my goals.