WINNIPEG – Dreams really do come true, even 7,000 kilometres from home.
Oakbank’s Quinton Howden is still on cloud nine after being selected to Canada’s Olympic men’s hockey team last week.
“It still really hasn’t sunk in.” Howden said from his residence in Minsk, Belarus.
After being cut loose by the Winnipeg Jets last summer Howden never could have imagined he’d be going to the Olympics.
“I think my mom bawled her eyes out.” Howden said.
“It’s always every kids dream obviously. That’s obvious, but the fact that it would actually come true is a little bit mind blowing.”
After undergoing shoulder surgery last spring the 25-year-old Howden signed with HC Dinamo Minsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. He has 15 goals in 51 games this season. But the biggest adjustment for Howden and his wife has been off the ice.
“It’s tough right, like the language barrier.” Howden said. “We get an Uber everyday, and the guy starts blabbing in Russian and I’m like I have no idea what you’re saying man. So just keep talking, I’m gonna nod along.”
It’s a far cry from the National Hockey League but Howden holds no ill will to his former franchise.
“I believe that everything happens for a reason.” said Howden.
“I had a great time in Winnipeg. I loved it. Playing at home was amazing. Definitely no hard feelings there. They treated me like gold. Really happy for them because they’re having a heck of a year.”
Howden last suited up for Canada at the 2012 World Juniors. He won a bronze medal that year and a silver medal in 2011. He’s now preparing to head off to Latvia for a couple exhibition games with Team Canada.
“I don’t even care if I’m filling water,” Howden said. “I’m just pretty honoured to be apart of this experience.”
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