By Jared Tennant

Ice Breakers defensemen Thomas McKinnon (pictured left) and Thomas Devesvre (pictured right) traveled a long way to play professionally in Mentor this season. McKinnon, 22, hails from Belfast, Northern Ireland and first came to North America to play hockey at the age of 17. He's spent the last four seasons with various teams in the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League and finished his junior career with 27 goals and 62 assists for a total of 89 points over 143 games. McKinnon first appeared in the Federal Hockey League in 2017-18 with the North Shore Knights before joining the Ice Breakers this season. He has five goals and nine assists over 35 appearances on the year.

Devesvre (pronounced "duh-vev") is a 22-year-old out of Porrentruy, Swizterland. He has a left-handed shot to go along with a 5-foot-11, 185-pound frame and has developed a reputation as a hard hitter during his brief FHL career. He played junior and eventually professional hockey in his native Switzerland before joining the North American pro ranks for the first time this season. Devesvre has a 3-11-14 scoring line and 71 PIMs over 30 games with the Ice Breakers.

Q: How did both of you end up with the Ice Breakers this season?

Thomas McKinnon: I was supposed to play in England but things fell through. I had my agent call Coach Duncan about the Ice Breakers and he said I could come try out. The rest is history.

Thomas Devesvre: I was at camp with the Knoxville Ice Brears (Southern Professional Hockey League) and was one of the last cuts. After that, I arrived in Mentor to try out for the Ice Breakers.

Q: Thomas M., you played with four different teams in the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League. Do you have one that was your favorite?

TM: The Kingsville Kings, where I played my last two years, was my favorite place. It's right on the water and I met some wonderful people while playing there, I'll never forget it.

Q: Thomas D., do you have a favorite team that you played for back in Switzerland?

TD: My favorite is Lausanne HC, where I played my junior hockey for five seasons.

Q: When did you make the decision to come overseas to play hockey? 

TM: I decided to come overseas when I was 17 when a friend of mine was originally going to be doing it. I thought to myself, "If he can do it, why can't I?"

TD: I made my decision after the end of last season when I didn't receive a new contract with my last team, HC Ajoie.

Q: How do you like living and playing hockey in Mentor?

TM: I love Mentor, there is always something to do and lots of different food places around. We could go out every night for a year and not have to go to the same place once. All in all, the city is awesome.

TD: I love living here. The team and staff have really welcomed me in. I'm happy to play here and I have responsibilities and a lot of playing time.

Q: What's your game-day routine like?

TM: My game-day routine is usually the same. After eating breakfast, I try to skate or workout then I'll eat again and nap, but without fail I will take a 30-40 minute shower before heading to the arena. It's something I've always done. I like to show up usually two-and-a-half to two hours before a game.

TD:  I don't really have a routine, I don't think it's that important for me.

Q: Who's your favorite NHL player?

TM: Darcy Tucker of the Toronto Maple Leafs was my favorite player growing up.

TD: My favorite player is Mark Streit. He was one of the first Swiss players to play in the NHL and his career inspires me.

Q: What are your hobbies?

TM: My hobbies are just hanging out with the guys or playing video games after practice.

TD: I love going to the cinema, going on motorcycle rides in the summer, and playing different sports.

Q: It's been an up-and-down season, but the Ice Breakers are still within striking distance of a playoff spot. What do you think it's going to take to make a run to the playoffs over the coming weeks?

TM: I believe that if we all buy in to what's being preached to us day-in and day-out and keep working on all of the little things, more of the major things will fall into place. I was always told "hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard." I firmly agree with that statement.

TD: We need to play every game like it's a playoff game and be consistent on defense.

Q: Favorite food?

TM: It has to be either Chinese food or döner kebab, I don't think I could choose one over the other.

TD:  I love sushi and Chinese food.

Q: Favorite movie? 

TM: Has to be The Longest YardI know too many quotes from that movie.

TD: My favorite movie is Lord of the Rings, all three movies.

Q: What type of music do you listen to?

TM: I listen to all type of music. I don't really prefer one genre over another and my playlist has all types of music on it.

TD: I listen to everything, it depends on my mood.

Q: Favorite hockey memory?

TD: I have lots of amazing memories, like my goal against the Swedish national team when I played U20 hockey or when I played my first pro game.