In a year when the revamped Hockey Night in Canada travels from coast to coast highlighting the different small hockey towns across Canada, we thought it would be apt to shed light on homegrown Mississauga talents who continue to play the sport they love in the community they love.

Student athletes are plentiful at UTM, but you would be hard-pressed to find anyone more “Sauga” than Adam Yunes.

The “student” in “student athlete” may be the part that matters more for us. It is what unites all of us across the UTM campus, since we are, or at one time were, students. Adam is in his second year of studying social sciences with hopes of completing a double major in political science and criminology.

In addition to working hard on his studies, he is a defenceman on the Division 2 and tri-campus Eagles men’s ice hockey team. He first became involved with UTM puck while he was in his first year. “I was hitting up the gym when I saw the flyer on the wall,” says Yunes. “Honestly, I didn’t think I was going to make it because it was filled with all former junior players, but luckily enough I got a defence spot on the team. It’s been a blast ever since.”

Yunes subscribes to the same lingo as most hockey players across Canada, and jokes that his favourite part of being on the UTM team is getting babes and “popping ginos”, which is hockey player slang for scoring goals.

Adam’s hockey experience goes back a lot further than just his first year of university. He first started playing hockey when he was five years old. Like many Canadians, he played Timbits hockey—pre-hockey training, camps, and games sponsored by Tim Hortons.

As he got older he played in a few well-known hotbeds for Mississauga hockey. When he was young, he played house league for Applewood and when he got older, played for Meadowvale at the rep level. Yunes still has a fondness for those arenas and continues to be a supporter of local Mississauga hockey.

When asked about the biggest influences in his hockey career, he had quite a lot to say. His mom and dad were always his biggest supporters. They drove him to hockey from a very young age. He also says that his love for the game comes from watching Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday night, mainly Don Cherry, who caught his attention from a young age.

Yunes loved watching the Leafs, too, particularly former goaltender Curtis Joseph, known to Leafs fans as “Cujo”.

At this moment in his career, Yunes is finding inspiration from his teammate at UTM hockey, Rory Bourgeois, also one of the leaders on the team and a tri-campus all star. “He’s definitely a major influence on my playing abilities and the team in general,” says Yunes. “He has great leadership and helped lead us to the finals last year with his outspoken personality, which really inspires the team and myself in particular.”

Yunes finds Bourgeois a natural-born leader on and off the ice, and as an up-and-coming UTM hockey player Yunes hopes he can take on that role in the future.

But he hopes to finish where he started, returning to the house leagues in Mississauga to volunteer his time as a coach. He believes that giving back to the community that made him who he is will allow him to get experience coaching and hopefully move up to coach a rep team. Yunes is grateful for all the people he’s met at UTM in his short time here, both teammates and head coach Chet Long, who, Yunes jokes, “finds the time to coach the team in between the hot yoga sessions he instructs”.

But most importantly, he’s proud of where he’s from and the Mississauga hockey community that has helped him grow on and off the ice.