The name sewn on the back was Crosby, and the little winger trying to fill it out was only 14 years old.
The unlikely path he took from there, from the OHL’s passage to being overlooked in his first of two NHL Draft, all led to a phone call from Team Assistant General Manager. Canada Shane Doan earlier this week with an invitation to don the Maple Leaf next 2021 IIHF World Championship.
“I never dreamed of it,” the Flames winger said softly.
“I mean, you dream about it all the time, but it was so surreal to be called out. It was great to hear him. It is an honor. It’s an honor to receive the call and I was just overjoyed.
When asked if there was a moment in his career, he wondered if he was even being considered for an invitation to national camp, the Flames’ sixth player, 25, shrugged. .
“Honestly, no, I wasn’t,” said Mangiapane, whose size has likely played against him despite consecutive 100-point seasons with the Barrie Colts.
“Maybe in junior when I started scoring points and all that. When I was younger, no way. This is why it is so surreal to go there. I was never asked to really do anything. I haven’t been abroad, I haven’t done anything for Team Canada. I can’t even believe it. You’ve gone all out to win the Stanley Cup and you want to play at the World Junior and World Championships and you want to experience the hockey world as a whole.
The invitation marks the latest milestone in a career that has seen him rise from a regular NHL player status last year to the top six this season.
Given his work ethic, tenacity and finish, some believe he will soon be among the Flames’ top scorers.
As proof that it is possible, the 5-10, 184-pound forward tied for the team lead with evenly-matched goals on Thursday with a clever deflection that earned him the third goal of the season in a 4-1. win over Vancouver. Twelve of his 14 goals came to their strength in a season where he was one of the few bright spots for a team playing a series of three other insignificant games against the Canucks before fighting for Europe.
An opportunity to continue to build his confidence in Riga, Latvia from May 21 will only help him.
What makes his wellness trip even better is that he will cross the pond for the first time while sitting next to his longtime teammate and pal Dillon Dube.
“Dillon and I go back in time – even in Penticton, we were roommates there,” Mangiapane said of the team’s former prospect training camp.
“It’s really awesome. We grew up in the same kind of role and competing to be in the NHL together. Now, going abroad is going to be fun. When we both got the call and we were talking about it, it was, “You go if I go, and I go if you go.” We both decided to go and it’s going to be awesome.
Mangiapane has not only managed to maintain his top-six status throughout the season, but he has also added regular power play and kill features to make him one of the most versatile attackers. and the most reliable.
Dube’s season hasn’t been so smooth, as his early season pole on the front row gave way to a fourth row gig and tough love under Darryl Sutter.
Her first invitation to the worlds is a chance to end the year on a higher note.
“For me, I owe them a lot – they have given me a lot over the years,” said Dube, eternally grateful for Team Canada opportunities like the one that took him to the world gold medal. junior in 2018.
“I think every time – through the U-18s, the world junior championships, and that – it’s like every time you have a new opportunity and it’s like playing for them for the first time. It’s an honor every time.
A greater honor to live it with his former roommate and boyfriend.
“When you go to these tournaments it’s a little different, and you don’t know too many guys,” said Dube, who has scored 10 goals this year after being one of the Flames’ top three players in the league. bubble from last year’s playoffs.
“If you’ve got a really close friend with you, especially for us to try to do Calgary and try to stay here together, and go to this tournament together and try to win a tournament together. It will be pretty cool just what we’ve been through. This will help each other. I think we can play hockey better with someone you are so close to.
There is someone even closer to Dube who will also be there to share the experience.
“My biggest thing has probably been that my brother got hired by Hockey Canada about two months ago, so we’re actually going together,” Dube said, joking that Jake will lead team services to make sure that “Mang and I are not late for anything. “
“Having a chance to win a medal with your brother is something that few people have to do.”