Championship Major U-15 hockey returns to Truro
LYLE CARTER email@example.com @Saltwirenetwork Worth Repeating is a weekly column touching on stories from the past, life experiences and events from the present day. If you have a column idea, contact Lyle at 902 673-2857.
Seven of the top Nova Scotia U-15 Major Hockey League teams will begin play Thursday (March 16) for the provincial championship. Taking place at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre (RECC), it is a four-day event. “The league is extremely excited to be hosting this year’s provincials in Truro,” Todd Watson, the 12-year league president said. “What an excellent event they put on last year when they hosted, this facility in Truro is second to none.” Watson, who has had a number of roles in hockey over the past 40 years, is also the coach of the Lockview High School hockey team. “Known as a development league, the U-15 Major league promotes more players to the U-18 Major league than any other league in the province,” Watson said. “The banner and provincial championship is always nice, however, the true winning team is indeed the team that promotes the most players up to the next level, U-18 or high school.” A 12-team league, a format is used which sees six best two-out-of-three series take place before the provincial championship. This eliminates five teams. Truro, who finished in fourth place during the regular season, faced the ACA Rangers, ninth in the league, at the East Hants Sportsplex March 4 to begin their playoff run. A terrific hockey game, the two teams remained scoreless through the first two periods, The goaltending by Nate Beaton of the Rangers and Sam Berthiaume of the Bearcats was brilliant. In the third period, Truro scored four straight goals for a 4-0 win. Ewan White fired two goals for Truro, Austin Hoyt, and Ethan Fraser each netted single markers. Berthiaume made 27 saves for the shutout. The Bearcats completed the two-game sweep with a 6-4 win Saturday afternoon at the RECC. With the U-15 Major championship play fast approaching, we talked to members of the Bearcats. Sam Berthiaume, age 13, Stellarton, goaltender: Sam played his hockey last season with the Pictou County U-13 team, provincial AAA champions. His second sport is soccer, he plays for Dr. W.A. Macleod Middle School. “I’m really enjoying the hockey season playing with Truro, the guys are great to play with,” Berthiaume said. “I like the coaching staff; I’ve got lots of support in making the switch from Pictou County to Truro. I’m looking forward to provincials, I’d love for this to turn out to be a winning year.” Chace Munden, age 14, Elmsdale, forward: A big, strong player - using hockey terminology, this guy has great wheels. “Playing my minor hockey in East Hants, I always tried to skate the puck,” Munden said. “I enjoy trying to beat the defenders, I like using my size to try to get to the net.” Matt O’hara, age 15, Brookfield, goaltender: Matt plays a second sport, basketball, for South Colchester Academy Wolves. His past two hockey seasons were with Truro Bearcats in AA U-15, and with Truro Bearcats in U-13 AAA. “I’m really enjoying this season with the Bearcats,” O’hara said. “I began playing goal when I was in novice in South Colchester minor hockey, I’ve kept with it. What I enjoy most is playing in intense games, making a big save is a lot of fun.” Griffin Maceachern, age 14, Salmon River, defenceman: It was good to talk hockey with Maceachern, playing his first season in U-15 Major hockey. Griffin played last season in U-13 AAA hockey. A real nice young guy to talk hockey with, Griffin has a great outlook … he’s an exciting upand-coming defenceman. Ryan Vohra, age 14, Valley, forward: Ryan, playing in his second U-15 provincials, also plays basketball, soccer, and golf. “For fans who watch this league, they’re going to see some great players around the net, outstanding scorers,” Vohra said. “There are players who stand out around the league like Aiden O’donnell. Being part of this, having the chance to play in another U-15 Major tournament, is a great opportunity. “There will be a lot of U-18 coaches watching, for some players, there will be family and friends coming from all over the province to support them. It’s a feeling like your whole community is there supporting you, that feels really great. You feel like you’re the best player in the world, it is an amazing feeling.” Besides following the progress of players familiar to me such as O’hara, White, Hoyt, Maceachern, Tyler Sullivan, Troy Hunt, Keenan Cream and Caiden Paris, it has been easy to become a big fan of Bearcats’ forward Elliot Mullen. A big powerful skater, Mullen plays on the power play, he kills penalties and, without question, he’s one of the biggest local hockey prospects to come along in recent years. Vohra mentioned Aiden O’donnell of Harbour Storm. Another genuine prospect, O’donnell was the U-15 league scoring champion this season with 85 points. In last year’s U-15 Major provincials, he led all scorers and was named tournament MVP. And there are other guest players fans should keep an eye on. Watch for Aaron Chip of the St. Margaret’s Bay-based Gulls, he finished second in league scoring with 84 points and helped his Gulls team to a first-place finish, recording 27 wins. Will Shearer and Charlie Benigno of the third-place Halifax Wolverines are both generating attention as prospects. And there are many other talented players converging on Truro this week. For some high-calibre and exciting U-15 Major hockey, this is a good opportunity for local fans to get out to the RECC to catch some of the action. See a complete schedule at nsu15major.com. Check out these young hockey stars of tomorrow, to day…