Arts

Shoresy stars on how the Letterkenny spinoff is 'true to the spirit' of Sudbury

According to Tasya Teles and Jordan Nolan, the show's rapid fire dialogue requires the cast to be in sync. It's a bit like being on a hockey team, says Teles.

Tasya Teles and Jordan Nolan on the importance of trusting your teammates

A woman in her 30s in a burgundy sweater sits at a desk.
Tasya Teles as Nat in Shoresy. (Bell Media)

According to Tasya Teles, one of the biggest challenges of working on Shoresy is getting used to the rhythm of the dialogue. The Letterkenny spinoff has the same style as its parent series: the dialogue is fast, the jokes are thick, the frequent pop cultural references are often surprisingly deep cuts and the call-backs are almost constant.

"It's such a specific style," she says. "It's like its own percussion. It's a rhythm. [Show star, creator and writer] Jared [Keeso] does a really good job of setting up all of the jokes, and the comedy is in a lot of the specificity."

Teles plays Nat, the owner and general manager of the Sudbury Blueberry Bulldogs, a sad-sack team in a fictional semi-professional hockey circuit, the Northern Ontario Senior Hockey Organization, or NOSHO. In Season 1 of Shoresy, the titular character joined the team and embarked on a mission to turn them around and "never lose again." Season 2, which debuted on Crave Sept. 29, is about Shoresy and Nat's efforts to keep the team focused and hungry amid the trappings of (relative) success. 

Teles says that being part of the Shoresy cast is like being on a hockey team: when you're delivering lines at the rapid clip that is a hallmark of the show, the ability to trust your teammates is key.

"It actually reminds me of passing the puck and setting up a goal," she says. "There's really quick passes between all of the castmates with these lines. You just practice and practice together, and trust that the script is really strong, and that Jared spent a lot of time crafting a really beautiful script."

For some of those castmates, Shoresy isn't just a challenging script, it's the first one they've ever read. There are several former professional hockey players on the show. One of them is Jordan Nolan. Nolan — who spent eight seasons in the NHL, playing for the Los Angeles Kings, Buffalo Sabres and St. Louis Blues — plays Jim #3, part of a troika of jail guards by day, on-ice enforcers by night, all of whom are named Jim. (The other two Jims are played by Jordan's brother Brandon, who was on the Carolina Hurricanes, and Jon Mirasty, a veteran of the minor pro circuit who also spent time in Russia's KHL.)

For Nolan, the script for Shoresy arrived at just the right time. His NHL career was winding down, and he was trying to figure out his next move. 

"It's hard to transition when you play a sport [professionally] for 10 or 12 years, and then that comes to an end," he says. "It's hard for athletes to figure out what they're going to do next. … It's pretty nerve-racking having kids and trying to find a new career. I think I had six months where I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. So I signed up for school, I did some work with the L.A. Kings and then Shoresy called and there's this role. I think it's kind of a blessing to be part of this."

Three men sit in a hockey locker room.
Jordan Nolan (centre) and Brandon Nolan (right) as Jim #3 and Jim #2 in Shoresy. (Bell Media)

Nolan is a member of the Garden River First Nation in Northern Ontario. He, his brother and their father, former Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan, run hockey camps for Indigenous youth in communities across Canada. He says that for him and Brandon, it was crucial to make sure the representation of Indigenous people on the show was done in a way they could get behind.

"We were definitely pleasantly surprised with how the writers and Jared handled the representation," he says. "I think so far they've done a great job."

He's not the only one who thinks so. The show has been widely praised for its Indigenous representation. It's a show that's able to do diversity without really making it seem like it's trying or thinking too hard about it. For Nolan — who's from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. — that's because the show tries to accurately represent small city Northern Ontario

"I think [Keeso] just looked at what Sudbury is and that's what you see on screen. … The spirit and the story are really true to that town," he says. "We have lots of First Nations hockey teams and lots of Indigenous people in the city playing hockey. So I don't think it's anything that's done on purpose. I think it's just a representation of what a Northern Ontario town looks like."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chris Dart

Web Writer

Chris Dart is a writer, editor, jiu-jitsu enthusiast, transit nerd, comic book lover, and some other stuff from Scarborough, Ont. In addition to CBC, he's had bylines in The Globe and Mail, Vice, The AV Club, the National Post, Atlas Obscura, Toronto Life, Canadian Grocer, and more.

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