Posted by: Adventures in Pucking | September 30, 2011

Man of the Day 9/30: Nazem Kadri


Nazem Kadri

Born October 6, 1990 (age 20) in London, Ontario, Canada

Center for the Toronto Maple Leafs

Nazem represents another first for MotD – more on that in a moment. He began skating at the tender age of two and began playing on teams at four; by six he was top level. He played peewee and bantam, participating in championships in 2003 and 2005 before moving on to the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers in 2006. In his second season with the Rangers, he scored 25 goals and 40 assists in 68 games, helping them win the OHL Championship before losing the Memorial Cup to the Spokane Chiefs.

He was then traded to the London Knights before the 2009-09 season, so he got to play in his hometown! Even though he played 56 games and had 25 goals and 53 assists, his jaw was broken during the season. But once the season was over, the Toronto  Maple Leafs picked him in the 2009 draft and signed him to a three-year entry-level contract. He was cut from the team that fall and went back to the Knights, where he was named OHL Player of the Week in March, Player of the Month for April and went to the OHL All-Star Game. It was during that season that he was called to Toronto for only one game, and he made his NHL debut against the San Jose Sharks on February 8, 2010; after that, he went back to London.

Celebrating a goal with his bud Colby Armstrong.

This past season was split between the Leafs and the Toronto Marlies, and he got his first NHL point in November 2010 with an assist against the Nashville Predators. He got his first NHL goal on March 19, 2011 against the Boston Bruins. He finished the season with 12 points (3 goals and 9 assists) in the NHL. This season will kick off with a rocky start, as he’ll be sitting out 3-4 weeks with a knee injury.

I said Nazem was another MotD first – he’s both our first Muslim and first player of Lebanese descent (his father moved from Lebanon to Canada at a young age). He’s the first Muslim on the Leafs and only the second in the NHL behind Ramzi Abid. He’s also the fourth of Lebanese descent in the league behind John Hanna, Alain Nasreddine and Ed Hartoum. Aside from an incident in the 2010 World Juniors against Switzerland in which he refused to shake the hand of Nino Niederreiter (he later forgave him for a vaguely inferred ethnic slur), Nazem has said that he’s not encountered any hostility in the league. With everything that’s happened recently, let’s hope it stays that way.

I don't know what he's doing, but I'm just glad it's during practice.

– Krista

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