It was while growing up in Sioux Lookout during the 1990s that this future NHLer learned the game of hockey. Advancing to the defensive line of the Thunder Bay AAA Kings Bantam team, from there it was on to the Waterloo Siskins which marked the start of his impressive junior career.
A first round draft pick of the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League, going 8th overall, he helped lead the team to the OHL title in his first season, and earned Rookie of the Year honours.
During his four years there he earned numerous awards, was selected as an OHL best defenceman, participated in the OHL All-Star Classic, and was named captain of the team in his final season.
His strong leadership skills also saw him picked as captain of other teams, including Team Ontario which won gold at the 2004 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge and Team Canada which claimed silver at the World Under-18 Championships. He also guarded the blue line for Team Canada as part of their back-to-back gold medal winning 2006 and 2007 World Junior Under-20 championship squads.
Selected by the Nashville Predators as their first round pick, he went 18th overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, getting his first taste of professional hockey being called up to play for their AHL affiliate the Milwaukee Admirals during the 2006 Calder Cup playoffs.
Traded by Nashville to the Philadelphia Flyers as part of their Peter Forsberg deal, he made his NHL debut with that club in April of 2007. Splitting his time between their AHL affiliate the Philadelphia Phantoms, he skated in over 100 NHL games, including 27 Stanley Cup playoff games during 2008, 2009 and as part of the Flyers 2010 Stanley Cup finals run.
After time in the AHL, which included 252 overall games, he retired from his professional playing career following the 2016 season. Moving behind the bench he served as an assistant coach in the AHL with the New Jersey Devils affiliate Binghamton Devils and Utica Comets, where he remains today.
There is little doubt about the level of pride that Sioux Lookout has for their hockey hero as they followed his career from the junior to the professional ranks, serving as a role model for other young athletes from that community, and adding to their proud sports history.
Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 30, 2023