Let the (hockey) games begin!
The Truro Bearcats’ season is underway, with a solid 2-1 road win over Campbellton Friday night. It’s shaping up to be an interesting year for the team, for a number of different reasons.
The first thing to remember is that the team will host this year’s Eastern Canadian Jr. A Championship, the Fred Page Cup. No matter how the team fares on the ice, the bottom line is that the Bearcats will have a shot at a title this season. Obviously the players, coaching staff, and management want to earn their way there with a good regular season and the league championship.
Next is the new rink. As much as I enjoy watching a game at Colchester Legion Stadium, it’s looking like the Central Nova Scotia Civic Centre will be a night and day difference when the team laces up there for the first time in November. I’ll be selfish for a moment and say I’m looking forward to doing play-by-play for the games in a broadcast booth instead of the top row of seats along centre ice at the Stadium. In the long-term, the new rink will hopefully tackle what’s been an ongoing issue for years: early season games being fogged out.
I’ve said it before, but the Bearcats have a unique opportunity to win more fans this season. A lot of people, myself included, will be curious about the new rink which should translate into a boost in attendance. If the team can come out of the gate strong and put up a good first half, they’ll have a chance to retain those fans.
Last, but not least, is the roster. There are 10 returning players for this year’s edition of the club. The defense looks to be the most solid part of the roster, with Zack Evans-Renaud, David Mosher, Ryan Moore, and Cal Gloade all back to man the blue line for the Bearcats.
Up front, Dylan McGuigan, Travis Fernley, Paul Thompson, Travis Moore, Jordan Cox, and Colby Lanceleve are back in the fold. I’m targeting Lanceleve as this year’s breakout player from that group. He registered 9 goals and 7 assists in 39 games last season, but dazzled with his speed.
A full season from Fernley, who was acquired from Woodstock at the trade deadline last year, will be interesting to watch. He posted 10 points in 18 games with Truro after putting up 26 points in 36 games for Woodstock.
Between the pipes, Head Coach Shawn Evans told me this is the most comfortable he’s been in some time. Shayne Campbell, a soon-to-be 20 year old who has played with the OHL’s Sarnia Sting and Ottawa 67’s, made 22 saves in Friday’s game to pick up the win. The team’s other goaltender is Jacob Fancy, Truro’s first round pick in the midget draft.
As for a captain, Evans hasn’t revealed who will wear the “C” full-time. Travis Moore was given the honour in the team’s first game, but it looks like it’s going to be a wait and see approach.
So there you have it. The MHL season is on and the Bearcats’ first home game is September 29th against Campbellton. I, for one, can’t wait to see how this all plays out. The Bearcats Insider is back for another season, so stay tuned for my weekly chat with Evans every Friday morning at 7:20 on Cat Country.