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McJannet shows versatility and improvement for Lakers
Feb. 6, 2004
By Lindsey Mechalik, LSSU Sports Information intern
Two of college students' worst habits are not getting enough sleep and eating unhealthy foods. Lake Superior State sophomore Steve McJannet battles those challenges every day.
At 16 years old, McJannet was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, which affects the digestive track. There is no cure for the disease, and McJannet will have to live with it for the rest of his life. He can keep the symptoms at bay by eating proper foods and getting plenty of rest.
"I can't let my body get run down," McJannet said. "I always have to make sure that I am eating properly. Every day I take medication that is pretty harsh. If I let my body get too worn down, it will slow me down even more. If I don't keep my body healthy, I can lose a lot of weight really quickly."
Adjusting to college is tough for any freshman, but for McJannet last year, it was especially hard. He had to make sure that he found the correct foods to eat in the cafeteria. One main challenge was to stay away from the junk food that college students consume at night. McJannet's sophomore year has been a lot easier because he can cook healthier foods in his townhouse.
"I can eat pretty much anything but spicy food," McJannet said. "I need to just make sure I don't eat really-greasy food all of the time."
McJannet tries to maintain a normal college life. When his friends are going out for fast food, he opts for healthier places such as Subway. Social activities on the weekends can sometimes be draining after a long week of hockey practices and games. But McJannet realizes that socializing is part of the college experience and tries to make up extra sleep whenever he can.
McJannet has roomed with teammate Colin Nicholson for the past two years.
"He is really supportive," McJannet said. "He will help remind me to live a healthy lifestyle. My teammates mostly all know about my disease. But luckily it is not really something that anyone has to worry about."
The last time that McJannet had any severe symptoms of his disease was when he was almost 19 years old.
"I had to have surgery a few years ago where they had to remove some of my stomach," McJannet said. "After my surgery, I couldn't play hockey for almost a year. My parents have had the biggest positive impact on my life. They have helped me through all of the tough times with my disease and when I was unable to play hockey."
McJannet's role with the Lakers has been a juggling act, too. He plays a variety of positions in the line-up, including defense and forward. McJannet came to Lake State as a defenseman, but only played the position for half a year before the Laker coaching staff moved him to forward. He progressed so much that he received the team's most-improved player award in 2002-03.
The forward position is not foreign to McJannet. He played as a forward when he was younger and only moved to defense when he was in juniors. During that time he also made appearances at left wing.
"One of the hardest parts about switching from defense to forward (or vise-versa) is remembering all of the systems," McJannet said. "In practice I make sure to learn both defensive and offensive plays. It is helpful when I am playing forward, I will know exactly what the defenseman is going to do."
McJannet is torn on which position he likes better.
"I really like playing forward, but defense has its advantages too," McJannet said. "I really like both. I am not sure if I have a preference. I like being able to see the game from both viewpoints. At defense the game is slower. Sometimes and you get to see more. At forward you are right in the middle of everything. I really don't care where I play as long as I am playing."
Because of Sault Ste. Marie's northern location, road trips to other CCHA schools tend to involve many hours on a bus. After finishing their homework and catching up on sleep, some players spends hours playing Monopoly on a computer. Tim Krueckl, Barnabas Birkeland, and Jon Booras all battled with McJannet for two hours on the last road trip to see who could win the most Monopoly games. Krueckl and McJannet share the Monopoly title.
McJannet has a very unique pre-game ritual that started when he was in juniors. He always brushes his teeth at the rink before a game. He really does not know why he does it, but it perks him up before a game. McJannet says it helps him to feel refreshed.
Due to long hours of hockey practice and school work, it is impossible for most members of the Lake Superior State hockey team to have jobs during the school year. This means that they work long hours in the summer in order to generate some spending money for the school year. McJannet just may have the most unique job of any of his teammates.
In the summer, McJannet works for the city picking up road kill. Although this may seem like a less than pleasant job, it fits in perfectly with McJannet's summer workout schedule. City jobs are highly-sought, and McJannet works with one of his friends.
"My job isn't very hard at all," he said. "We pick up our truck in the morning, and our boss gives us a section of road to patrol. The only time there is any road kill is in the morning because almost everything gets hit at night. We drive through our section and maybe have to pick up two or three off the road. Most of the rest of the time is just spent driving. We drop off the truck at about 3 p.m. everyday."
Before coming to Lake State, McJannet played for the Kanata Valley Lasers of the Central Junior Hockey League and had the good fortune to live at home. For McJannet, attending LSSU was his first real experience away from home.
"The first month was pretty tough," McJannet said about living away from home for the first time. "But as soon as I got to be playing hockey and hanging out with my teammates, I was having a great time."
In his spare time McJannet loves to watch movies. His favorite movies are the Godfather series and Shawshank Redemption. McJannet frequently travels to Canada to go to the movies with his teammates.
McJannet also golfs as much as possible in the summer. Earlier in the school year, he played in an intramural golf tournament with some of his teammates and had a very interesting experience.
"I was paired with my teammate Kory Scoran," McJannet said. "We didn't do very well because neither of us had our golf clubs at school. We had to rent a set from the golf course. It was pretty funny because we only had about five clubs. We had a driver, 5-wood, 3-iron, pitching wedge and a putter. It was pretty hard to do well missing so many clubs, but we still had fun."
It didn't help that the rented clubs were youth-sized. If the two decide to play in next year's tournament, they will remember to bring their clubs from home.
Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey