It has been a summer to remember for the Oleksiak family. First, you have Penny Oleksiak, who is dominating the Olympics, and at age 21, she shares the title as the most decorated Canadian athlete at the Summer Olympics. Then you have Jamie Oleksiak, who after signing a five-year $25 million contract, has become one of the faces of the Seattle Kraken organization. Here is an in-depth look at both star athletes and the summers they are having.
Jamie Oleksiak Makes A Splash
After a career year with the Dallas Stars, Jamie earned a mega-contract that carries an average annual cap of $4.6 million per season for five seasons. The contract was well deserved as the Toronto native had his best season in the NHL 2020-21. He put up six goals and 14 points in 56 games and was a key contributor to the penalty kill. In the past, he has also shown he can deliver in the playoffs, as in 2019-20, he put up nine points in 27 games and helped the Stars make the Stanley Cup Final.
Jamie is a force on the ice. He led the Stars in hits with 148 and finished second on the team in blocks with 88. He is a giant coming in at 6-foot-7, 256 lbs and isn’t afraid to throw his body around. Where he is really going to help Seattle is on the penalty kill. Last season, he averaged 1:30 per game on the penalty kill and even generated two shots on goal while shorthanded.
Last season, Jamie showed he could play both sides of the ice with relative success. This gives Seattle some flexibility when it comes to d-pairings. They could play him with Adam Larsson and create a shutdown pairing. Another option would be pairing him with players like Vince Dunn or Hayden Fleury. They can then jump in offensively while he stays back and becomes that defensive anchor on the pairing. He should be a staple on the back-end for years to come and should become a fan favourite in Seattle once the season begins.
Penny Oleksiak Breaking Away From The Competition
What Penny has done at the Olympics for Canada is incredible. At the age of 21, she has already become the most decorated athlete for Canada at the Summer Games. She is also projected to have the best Summer Olympic performance in history by a Canadian.
After her performance at the Rio 2016 Olympics, she was nicknamed “Canada’s Golden Penny.” Her performance of one gold, one silver and two bronze were historic. She was the first Canadian to win four medals at the Summer Olympics and the youngest Canadian to win gold at the Olympics as she was just 16. For her efforts, she was named Canada’s flag-bearer at the Olympic Closing Ceremonies and beat out Sidney Crosby for the Lou Marsh Award given out to the top Canadian athlete. It was a year to remember but only just the start of things to come.
What makes Penny special is her dedication and drive. She never gives up regardless of what place she is in during the race. This was on full display during the 4x100m relay at this year’s Tokyo Summer Olympics. She was the anchor on the team, and despite entering the pool in fourth, she had the swim of her life and propelled Canada to a silver medal. That moment will go down in Canadian Olympic history as she turned in a performance many won’t soon forget.
Another Oleksiak sibling is not talked about a lot but has had a good athletic career. Hayley Oleksiak was part of Northwestern University’s rowing team from 2015-2018. Although she never made the Olympics, her varsity career was impressive, including multiple top-10 finished at the NCAA Championships. Although she never persuaded athletics, she has forged her own path, becoming an Urban Planner in Toronto.
More To Come
The Oleksiak’s are just getting started. As mentioned, Penny very possibly could beat her own record at the Olympics this year and cement herself as one of the greatest Canadian athletes of all time. As for Jamie, his size combined with his willingness to play physically has made him the fourth highest-paid player on the Kraken. If they both continue to compete at the top of their games, they could become the most accomplished brother-sister duo in Canadian sports history.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at https://www.area51sportsnetwork.com/ where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.