Carlos Verde, Communications Manager
Nepean, Ont. —
Corey Tam has seen his fair share of the CCHL over four-plus seasons with his hometown Nepean Raiders.
He’s held a leadership role the past few years as one of the longest-serving Raiders in recent memory, and could — if he stays healthy and Nepean makes a playoff run — surpass Jeff Smith’s franchise-record 267 appearances.
“It’s been an awesome four years for myself,” Tam told TheCCHL.ca on Monday. “I’ve grown more as a person, because that’s what they look for here in Nepean — people first and players second.”
Having taken classes at the University of Ottawa and now Algonquin College, the Nepean native is hoping to draw concrete attention from American schools in 2017-18, his final year of junior hockey.
“Wherever I go is based on what our team does, (so) if I go Division-I, it’ll be because the team helped me get there,” said Tam. “Going forward, it’s just about going to school — education first, then hopefully after that I can go to Europe.”
Tam’s coach, CCHL alumnus and former Division-I player Darcy Findlay, speaks highly of his co-captain.
“He’s one of the best kids I’ve coached on and off the ice,” said Findlay, who played 112 games with Bemidji State (2008-12). “A team guy first that works hard every day and truly cares about our program.”
The Raiders bench boss believes Tam’s poise — evident since his 16-year in the CCHL-2, where he played big minutes in Ottawa-West’s march to the 2014 final — is one of his biggest assets.
“You’d never know if he was excited or frustrated with the way things are going, because he just does his job and what’s asked of him regardless if it’s in his favour,” explained Findlay. “He’s a huge piece in our puzzle.”
Life as a 20 year-old in junior hockey can vary from player to player; for Tam, whose family billets some of his teammates, it’s virtually all Raiders, all the time.
“I wake up pretty early — 8:30 or nine o’clock — get changed, have breakfast, get online, get classes going (and) make sure I’m caught up on that,” outlined Tam. “Then get to the rink for 2 o’clock workout or 4 o’clock practice, then get home and chill out with the guys.”
What the future holds for the sturdily-built Raiders blueliner remains to be seen; he has a “C” on his chest, along with some interest from south of the border, and will be looking to build on his career-high 22 points (four goals, 18 assists) from last season.
Corey Tam Trivia
Birthdate: Jan. 21, 1997 (20)
Minor Hockey: Nepean Minor Hockey Association, Ottawa Senators AAA
Fav. Pre-game Meal: “Pasta and chicken, every game the same thing. It’s boring but it works for me.”
Fav. Artist: “I don’t know, I’m an everything guy. I like country, I like rap. Anything that gets me going or calms me down.”
Fav. Teammate: “Tough question, there have been so many great ones. Not one comes to my head because everybody’s been great for me. Everybody, I can’t point out one person.”
Career After Hockey: “Hopefully staying within sport, maybe being an athletic therapist or something. I’m not a math guy, I like the sciences. That’s what I want to do.”