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Cree hockey player Israel Mianscum chases his NHL dream

BY Sakib Hossain Sep 26, 2023

In Mistissini, a young hockey sensation is making waves. Israel Mianscum, at just 20 years old, has become a beacon of hope and inspiration for aspiring athletes in the region. With every stride on the ice, he carries the dreams of his people and the legacy of Cree athletes who came before him.

Mianscum’s pursuit of hockey stardom is nothing short of remarkable. Growing up in Mistissini, Mianscum was introduced to hockey at a young age. It didn’t take long for him to fall in love with the game, a passion that would drive him to strive for excellence on the ice.

Currently, Mianscum is making his mark in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) with the Sherbrooke Phoenix. Last season, he recorded an impressive 61 points, with 30 goals and 31 assists, in only 65 games. His achievements on the ice have not gone unnoticed, earning him accolades and invitations that are paving the way to his dream – the NHL.

This included an invitation to the Detroit Red Wings development camp this past summer. It was here that he got a taste of what it means to compete at the highest level of the sport. 

“It was very fun; I had a good experience,” said Mianscum. “I saw how others played and that pushed me to play harder. I saw where I needed to be to make it [in the NHL]. There were people that encouraged and helped me like the coaches and scouts telling me what I need to work on.”

The Red Wings saw Mianscum’s potential and invited him back for the NHL Prospect Tournament, an event that showcases the skills and determination of young talents. This year, the tournament is hosted by the Detroit Red Wings September 14 -17 in Traverse City, Michigan. It’s a chance for Mianscum to prove himself once again and take a step closer to his NHL dream.

But the path to the NHL is not without its challenges. Mianscum knows that anything can happen in the world of professional hockey. Trades and changes in team dynamics are a part of the game, but he remains unwavering in his motivation. 

“I skate, train, and watch my diet,” he emphasized. “Every summer, I become more motivated. Every year gets more important as you get older. I am working hard.”

The Montreal Canadiens have also recognized Mianscum’s potential, inviting him to their development camp in July 2022. It’s a testament to his talent and dedication that he drew the attention of two NHL franchises in such a short span.

Stéphane Julien, a former head coach and general manager with the Sherbrooke Phoenix, has witnessed Mianscum’s growth firsthand. 

“He’s one of the players I’ve seen progress the most in my coaching career in Sherbrooke,” said Julien. “He’s a very smart player. He is very strong on his skates. He can hit very hard. He has a pro shot. He’s got everything to be successful.”

Mianscum’s dedication to the sport extends beyond the rink. In the QMJHL, education is a significant component of a player’s development, and Mianscum has excelled in this aspect as well. Julien expressed his pride in Mianscum’s progress in school, highlighting his value as a role model for other young Cree hockey talents, both male and female.

Behind every successful athlete is a family that believes in their dreams, and Mianscum is no exception. His parents, Louie and Tiffany, are his biggest fans and have always been by his side. 

Tiffany Neeposh-Mianscum expressed her excitement, saying about her son’s achievements, “It feels surreal. We are excited, I’m very excited. We are grateful God gave us another opportunity for Israel to pursue his passion. I believe he can succeed and reach where he wants.”

Mianscum remains humble amidst his rising success. He expressed his gratitude to his supporters. “I want to thank everyone,” he said. “I see all your support. I feel it. Thank you for having my back.” 

He particularly acknowledged the pivotal role his parents played: “My parents have been my greatest supporters. This wouldn’t be possible without them.”

As Mianscum continues his pursuit of an NHL career, he carries with him the support and pride of his community and serves as an inspiration for young athletes who dare to dream big.

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