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A broken stick leads to broken hearts for Canada’s world juniors

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When a Canadian is on the losing end of a hockey game at any level it’s never easy.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a peewee house-league final in Cole Harbour, N.S., or on the bigger stages like the world junior tournament, the world championship or an Olympic gold-medal final.

So imagine how the 2019 Canadian world junior team feels after its heartbreaking 2-1 loss in overtime in Vancouver on Wednesday. The team had this one in the bag.

There were only 46.4 ticks left on the clock in the third period when, with Canada up 1-0, a puck deflected off the left shin pad of Finland’s Aleksi Heponiemi and past Canadian goaltender Michael DiPietro for the tying goal.

But Canada still had a couple of glorious chances to take the game in overtime.

WATCH | Finland defeats Canada in overtime:

After tying the game with 46 seconds left in the 3rd, Finland scored after Canada failed to convert on 2 game-ending opportunities in overtime, knocking the hosts out of the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship in Vancouver. 2:23

Captain Maxime Comtois was awarded a penalty shot early in the extra period after Canadian defenceman Evan Bouchard was hooked on a breakaway. But Comtois, chosen to take the shot by Canada coach Tim Hunter under new rules this year, was turned aside on his low blocker attempt.

A few shifts later Canadian first-line centre Cody Glass feathered a cross-ice pass to defencemen Noah Dobson. The native of Summerside, P.E.I., had an open net staring at him, but his stick broke on his one-touch attempt.

The unexpected turn of events gave Finland an odd-man rush the other way. Unlike Canada’s missed opportunities to close the deal, Finnish defenceman Toni Utunen, who just happens to be a Vancouver Canucks prospect, finished off Canada at his future home with a blast that deflected off the stick of Glass and over the left shoulder of goalie Michael DiPietro.

The Finns, all of a sudden, were off to the semifinals. They have a date on Friday with Switzerland, who pulled off a shocker earlier in the day with a 2-0 quarter-final win against Sweden in Victoria.

“We gave it our best,” said Comtois, who played through a painful shoulder injury. “Sometimes you don’t get the bounces in your favour.”

Hunter selected Comtois to take the critical penalty shot because he was the team’s best shootout guy in practice. But it didn’t work out, which it usually does when Canada hosts this holiday event. In the previous 12 times Canada has played host to this tournament, Canada has won five gold medals, five silvers and two bronzes.

Canada’s Maxime Comtois, right, misses a penalty shot on Finland goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen during Finland’s 2-1 overtime win on Wednesday. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

But Canada never found its groove in this tournament. It was especially poor on the power play, going 0-for-3 in this game and scoring only three times in 18 man-advantage situations in its five games.

Finland might have enjoyed a slight edge in play in this game, but both teams had opportunities to salt this one away. Finland was foiled by DiPietro — often. 

The Canadian goalie, also a Canucks prospect, won plenty of fans in his future home. The Canucks selected DiPietro in the third round a few weeks after he helped the Windsor Spitfires win the 2016-17 Memorial Cup. 

Late in the second period, after a series of stellar stops, the crowd gave the Canadian goalie a standing ovation and chanted his name. This brought DiPietro’s mom to tears. 

“It was game that was played well on both sides,” DiPietro said. “I’m at a loss for words. You feel you’ve let your country down, but you also feel you’ve let your teammates down.

“It just didn’t work out.”

The second-guessing started immediately after Utunen deposited the winner. Did Hunter choose the right guy to take the penalty shot? Why couldn’t the power play get on track? Why was this team so inconsistent?

The bottom line is that it is not the 1990s or the early 2000s anymore, a time when Canada won five gold medals in a row on two different occasions.

Since 2009, when Canada, with the late Pat Quinn as coach, won its fifth in a row for a second time, five different countries have struck world junior gold. The United States have won three times, followed by two apiece from Canada and Finland and one each to Russia and Sweden. There’s parity in them there hills now.

Who knows? Maybe in a few days it will be Switzerland’s turn.

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Future of Ottawa: Chefs with Kathryn Ferries

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This week in the Future of Ottawa series, we’re taking a deep dive into the bar and restaurant industry—what it’s like now and where it’s headed. Read on for a guest post from Kat Ferries on the future of chefs, or read posts from Quinn Taylor on bars or Justin Champagne on fine dining.

Kat Ferries is Sous-Chef at Stofa Restaurant and a 2020 San Pellegrino North American Young Chef Social Responsibility Award Winner.

Apt613: What is the current landscape for chefs in Ottawa?

Kat Ferries: There is such great talent in Ottawa with so many chefs either being from here originally or have returned after traveling and have since opened some incredible restaurants. Many chefs have focused menus that really highlight their strengths, their heritage, and their passion for food. Dominique Dufour of Gray Jay, Marc Doiron of Town/Citizen, Steve Wall of Supply & Demand, Daniela Manrique Lucca of The Soca Kitchen, and so many more are all cooking up beautiful and delicious food in this city.

If you care to make a prediction… Where is the food industry in Ottawa going for chefs in 2021?

The industry right now is, unfortunately, in a really tough spot. The pandemic has been so devastating on mental, physical and emotional levels for so many and I know that many of my friends in this industry are burning out. There are many discussions happening on work/life balance and what is healthy for everyone. Some may never return to the long, hard hours we are expected to put in day after day and instead opt for a more flexible schedule or hire more staff to lighten the load on everyone, with some even leaving the industry indefinitely. Some may throw themselves back into this industry 10x as hard and create some of the best restaurants and concepts we’ve yet to see. I think all that will happen after the pandemic though.

For this year, it’s mostly about survival and finding happiness in creating what we can in the spaces we have while following all the laws and guidelines from public health officials. I think we will see more chefs creating experiences for guests that we otherwise wouldn’t have: think pop-ups, virtual dinner clubs, cocktail seminars, collabs, etc.

Where in your wildest dreams could the Ottawa culinary community grow in your lifetime?

I would love to see the Ottawa community support more small, local restaurants so our streets are bustling late into the nights like they are in Montreal, New York, or Europe. Having a local restaurant to frequent should be so much more commonplace, where you can enjoy a night out more often than just Friday or Saturday night. I would also love to see many more of our local chefs highlighted for the amazing food they create!

What is the best innovation to take place in your industry since the pandemic started affecting Ottawa?

Turning all our restaurants into mini-markets for customers to enjoy the food and wine of their favourite places at home. We have bottle shops for all your wine, beer and cocktail needs as well as menus that reflect what each restaurant does best. Some have even pivoted to a point where they are 100% a store and have paused any type of “service-style” dining.

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Future of Ottawa: Fine Dining with Justin Champagne

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This week in the Future of Ottawa series, we’re taking a deep dive into the bar and restaurant industry—what it’s like now and where it’s headed. Read on for a guest post from Justin Champagne on the future of fine dining, or read posts from Kathryn Ferries on chefs or Quinn Taylor on bars.

Justin Champagne went to culinary school at Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver. He got his start in fine dining restaurants at C Restaurant under Chef Robert Clark, then at Hawksworth Restaurant under Chef Eligh. He staged at three-Michelin-starred Atelier Crenn under Chef Dominque Crenn before moving to Ottawa and spending five years at Atelier, working his way up to Sous-Chef. He’s now the Head Chef of Bar Lupulus.

Apt613: What is the current landscape of fine dining restaurants in Ottawa?

Justin Champagne: Ottawa punches well above its weight class when it comes to quality restaurants in general. Fine dining is no exception to that—we have some amazing chefs here that are doing really great things. We also have some phenomenal sommeliers in town that are a huge factor when it comes to a guest’s experience in a fine dining restaurant. While there are some fantastic fine dining restaurants in town I do believe there’s room for more, and definitely room for more creativity and unique styles of cooking! I think we’ll see more small fine dining restaurants opening up, “micro-restaurants” where there’s maybe 20 seats. This will be over the next few weeks as the industry did take a big hit financially with COVID-19, but we still have a lot of great young chefs who have the fire inside of them to open their own location!

If you care to make a prediction… Where is fine dining going in Ottawa in 2021?

I’m not sure it’ll be 2021 or 2022 with the way the vaccine rollout and stay-at-home order is going, but I do expect there to be a wave of people looking to go out to fine dining restaurants. We’ve been cooped up cooking for ourselves or ordering takeout for over a year now. People are getting antsy and ready to go out and have fantastic meals again with exceptional wine and not have to worry about doing all the dishes afterwards!

Where in your wildest dreams could fine dining go in Ottawa in your lifetime?

That’s the fun part about “fine dining,” it can go anywhere and it can mean many things. Fine dining is about amazing service and well thought out, unique food that the kitchen spent hours fussing over, being meticulous in execution. Outside of that, you can have a lot of fun and be creative in different ways. My wildest dream I guess is that fine dinning restaurants begin to thrive and are able to charge without backlash the kind of prices that they need to charge in order to keep the lights on and pay their staff a proper living wage!!

What is the best innovation to take place in your industry since the pandemic started affecting Ottawa?

I’m not sure if I would really say there’s been a best “innovation” in my industry during the pandemic, but I will say that seeing the “adaptability” by all the restaurants in Ottawa has been incredibly inspiring. Ottawa’s food scene has always been a tight-knit community, “everyone helping everyone” kind of mentality. And this pandemic has really helped show that—restaurants helping restaurants through all of this!

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Ottawa’s Giant Tiger chain celebrating 60 years in business

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OTTAWA — An Ottawa staple, along with what might be the most famous cat in Canada, are celebrating a milestone Monday.

Giant Tiger is 60 years old.

“It all started with a very simple idea,” says Alison Scarlett, associate VP of communications at Giant Tiger. “Help Canadians save money every single day. Bring them products that they want and need. When you focus on those core principals, it really is quite simple to succeed.”

In 1961, Gordon Reid opened the first Giant Tiger in Ottawa’s ByWard Market. The company now has more than 260 locations across Canada and employs roughly 10,000 people.

“If you were at our store on opening day 60 years ago, the in store experience would be a little bit different from your local Giant Tiger store today. So that’s changed. A lot of our products and offerings have changed or expanded as Canadian consumers wants and needs have changed or expanded,” says Scarlett.

The homegrown department store continues to be a favourite for many shoppers looking to for the best deals on everyday products.

Helen Binda has been shopping here for decades.

“Many years. I can’t remember when. I’ve always loved Giant Tiger. It’s always been a good store for me.”

“I think its amazing and I think that we need more department stores,” says shopper Fay Ball. “And if it’s Canadian, all the better.”

The Canadian-owned family discount store carries everything from clothing to groceries, as well as everyday household needs. They’ve also expanded their online store and like most retailers provide curbside pickup during the pandemic.

“Doing what is right for our customers, associates, and communities. That has enabled us to be so successful for all of these years,” says Scarlett.

To celebrate, Giant Tiger is hosting a virtual birthday party at 7 p.m. Monday with live musical performances from some iconic Canadian artists.

You can visit their Facebook page to tune in. 

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