Today’s article was written by Connor Oke, Ontario Parks Marketing Intern.
Canadians know that among the many things that make our country amazing, two things stand out: our vast expanses of beautiful, untouched nature…
…and our passion for hockey.
So why not both at the same time?
As the hockey season progresses, we did some exploring of our own. Here are the critters and creatures we’ve selected for the Ontario Parks All-Star Hockey Team!
Center: Caribou McDavid
Strengths: He lives in the north, that’s why he has ice in his blood.
Weaknesses: It’s a reindeer with a different name.
Why he is on the team: Everyone knows you need someone at center who is strong on their feet to make the big plays.
Caribou have very large paws that are well suited for scraping off hardened snow and ice to get to the food underneath, as well as for traction (perfect for those clutch showdowns!). Next time you see one at a winter event, check out how big their feet really are.
Right: Mitch la Marta
Strengths: He is a very handsome guy; a fan favorite.
Weaknesses: He is nocturnal, so he stays up very late on game day.
Why he is on the team: Pine martens are fast and agile, and can jump from pine to pine in the forest to evade predators, although they hunt primarily on the forest floor. They are known to be particularly difficult to detect in the wild.
That means other teams won’t even be able to keep track of where you are on the ice.
Left: Hall of Snapping Turtles
Strengths: It has a lightning-fast head to attack food, threats and unique things.
Weaknesses: The other team will probably catch her if she runs away.
Why he is on the team: Unlike most turtles, snapping turtles have a tiny bottom shell. That means they can’t retreat into their shells when they feel threatened. However, when they are on the ground, they have to stand their ground and attack threats that get too close.
That’s the kind of tenacity the Ontario Parks team needs. She doesn’t back down and isn’t afraid to let the other team know when they’re out of line.
Left defense: Porcupine K. Subban
Strengths: Other players won’t want to do a body check.
Weaknesses: He can’t hug his teammates after goals.
Why he is on the team: Porcupines are the perfect prickly defense partner for any closing line.
They have more than 30,000 quills, which are modified hairs. But contrary to myth, they cannot throw the quills. Instead, they are loosely attached to the porcupine’s body, so they come off easily when they encounter another animal. They can lose hundreds in a single match – ouch!
Right defense: (Bear)nt Burns
Strengths: She can figure out how to get into your cooler or the bottom of your net if you’re not careful.
Weaknesses: He sleeps through much of the hockey season.
Why he is on the team: Female black bears weigh between 100 and 150 pounds on average; their male counterparts between 150 and 180. Female bears can double their size during the summer in preparation for hibernation, if food is plentiful.
Ontario Parks needs that type of big body on defense to block shots.
Goalkeeper: Jacob (Moose)strom
Strengths: He will lock antlers with other elk to achieve mating supremacy and battles in the fold.
Weaknesses: Easily distracted by road salt.
Why he is on the team: Moose are huge and can grow up to 5 to 6.5 feet tall from hoof to shoulder. The males’ enormous antlers highlight their imposing figure, which can grow up to six feet wide, from tip to tip.
Of course, this means that snipers will have a hard time picking the top corners of the net.