Mississauga, ON – Born and raised in Mississauga, Nicholas Canade grew up loving hockey. As a young kid, he would head over to Cawthra arena to play for the Lorne Park Ojibwa. After spending three years in the Mississauga Hockey League with Lorne Park, he decided to play for the Mississauga Rebels and play out of Iceland Arena.
The Rebels had tremendous success in the seven years Canade spent with them winning numerous championships. In his final year with the team in the 2014-15 season, Canade put up 41 points in 71 games.
Those numbers, along with high energy and compete level, caught the attention of OHL teams. Canade ended up going in the eleventh round to his hometown team, the Mississauga Steelheads.
“Growing up, I went to a lot of Majors/Steelheads games; they were right down the street from me. Just hearing my name get called by them on draft day was something really special.” Canade said.
In his first season after being drafted by the Steelheads, Canade took his talents to St. Andrews College in Aurora, Ontario. He spent a season there developing his game and becoming a more rounded player who could soon be ready for OHL hockey.
However, heading into the Steelheads training camp for the 2017-18 season, Canade thought he was going to be heading back to St. Andrews for another season where he was set to be captain. General Manager and Head Coach James Richmond had a different thought in mind.
“I told Nicholas and his parents that I wanted to sign him and have him be on the team; they were surprised. He was prepared to go back to St. Andrews for one more season, but I thought he was ready for the OHL. After a little convincing that this would be the best place for him to play and develop, he signed with our team.”
Canade started his OHL career with his hometown team. It was a perfect situation in his eyes, being able to live at home with the comfort of his family as he adjusted to his new team.
It meant a lot to Canade to play for Mississauga, a place his family has called home his entire life. He wanted to make sure he gave back to the community that had given him so much in return.
“He is always at the front of community events with the team, encouraging teammates to help out as well. He embodies everything that it means to be a Steelhead both on and off the ice.” Richmond said about Canade’s community work.
His work didn’t go unnoticed, as he was named the winner of the Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy for the OHL’s humanitarian of the year in the 2018-19 season. The award is given out annually to someone who goes above and beyond in their community.
“Mississauga obviously means so much to me, growing up and now playing here,” said Canade. “Honestly though, I just feel being in a position like myself, I have a responsibility to help out in my community whenever I can, and that’s what I always try to do.”
Canade enjoyed a successful OHL career, playing three seasons with the Steelheads. In 177 career OHL regular-season games, he registered 29 goals and 48 assists for 77 points. He also had an “A” on his jersey for his final two seasons. He was a forward the majority of the time and showed great versatility by playing defence when needed.
He even attended the New Jersey Devils development camp and went there as a defenceman. He got into two games and registered one assist against the Boston Bruin’s rookie team.
“To be an 11th round pick and work hard enough to be one of the captains on our team is a remarkable accomplishment; he worked extremely hard and earned everything he got,” says James Richmond.
Canade was recently on loan in Finland, playing for Koovee in the country’s second division. Because of the OHL officially cancelling the 2020-21 season, Canade’s career with the Steelheads has sadly come to an end. On the bright side, Canade recently signed a two-year deal with Vaasan Sport in Finland’s top pro league, Liiga.
Canade remains proud of what he has accomplished these past few years. From being a draft selection in the eleventh round to being one of the captains for his hometown team, Canade can do nothing but look back and smile.
“I can’t thank the Steelheads organization enough for everything they have done for me over these past few years. It was a great honour to put on a Steelheads jersey for so many games. It’s something I will never forget, an experience of a lifetime.”