Ever-humble Humber-dredge

Truro Bearcats star talks playoffs, his game and the future

BRENDYN CREAMER TRURO NEWS brendyn.creamer @saltwire.com



SaltWire Network



TRURO — The 2022-23 MHL season will be Tanner Humberdredge’s last in the league before he ages out. However, the Truro Jr. A Bearcats centre is refusing to go down without a fight during the upcoming playoffs. “We have a good team this year,” said Humber-dredge. “I hope we can get the win in my last year.” Humber-dredge, originally from St. John’s, NL, came to Truro three years ago to play for the Bearcats. In an interview with Saltwire Network, he spoke about how hockey had always been a constant throughout his life. “As long as I can remember, I’ve played hockey,” said Humber-dredge. “Always on skates, always playing mini-sticks in the kitchen with my parents, playing mini-sticks with whoever came over. Humber-dredge played minor hockey while growing up with the St. John’s Caps. In Grade 10, he spent a year at King’s-edgehill (a private boarding school) in Windsor, N.S. He finished his U-18 career back home in Newfoundland. Struggling during the early part of his U-18 days, he never expected hockey would get him as far as it has. “By the time I got to my third year (of U-18), I was starting to play a lot better,” said Humberdredge. “I led our Newfoundland league in points and started getting calls from a few teams in this league (MHL).” However, instead of signing with an MHL team, Humberdredge travelled to play in Saskatchewan. “I stayed for two months. I didn’t really enjoy it that much,” said Humber-dredge of his time with the Estevan Bruins organization. “I didn’t like being that far away from home.” He eventually came back to the East Coast and signed with the Bearcats, noting that he knew the Truro organization was well-received and knowing his head coach would be Shawn Evans, who spent some time in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues and New York Islanders. THE BEARCATS’ “ENGINE” After three years with the Bearcats, Humber-dredge has become one of their most valued players. He finished with 68 points (19 goals and 49 assists), and earned himself consistent placements in the MHL’S Team of the Week roster. Though players with personal performances like his might have a boosted ego, the humble Humber-dredge always loops his own successes back to his team. “It all comes back to the team game,” Humber-dredge remarked when asked about his performance this season. “Whenever the team’s playing well, it’s a lot easier. He noted that during the last few weeks, right winger Carter Mccluskey and left winger Landon Miron have been a “big help.” When it comes to his own game, however, he spoke about how his time with the Bearcats has helped him improve as a two-way forward who can act both offensively and defensively. “Shawn’s big on two-way forwards that play both ends of the ice. That’s been a big help in my game. I’ve adapted much more in my 200 ft game than before I started playing with the Bearcats.” When it comes to his strengths, Humber-dredge noted his speed and hockey IQ, as well as his ability to see the ice. His weakness, in his opinion, is getting shots in the net. “My shot is definitely not there,” said Humber-dredge with a small chuckle. “I don’t score on too many shots.” To Evans, however, Humber-dredge is just what his team needs. "He's tried, tested and true for the playoffs. He showed it last season, leading us to being provincial champions and getting us to the league final," said the Bearcats' veteran head coach. "He's been that player, from last year, basically since we came back from Christmas break this year. "He's a good 200 ft. hockey player that competes. Sometimes, people look at the size, but that doesn't matter. When the puck gets on his stick, it's awful hard to get it from him. To me, at the end of the day, he's the engine that's driving our team." THE PLAYOFFS When it comes to the playoffs, Humber-dredge admits there’s stiff competition — he notes that, in their division (Eastlink South), they’ll have to beat out the Valley Wildcats. League leading Yarmouth Mariners play the Pictou County Crushers in the other division semifinal. Humber-dredge commented on the rivalry Truro has with the Wildcats, and how that may come to show during the playoffs. “They have a lot of good players, a lot of players that want to win. We had a big rivalry with them last year in the playoffs. Went to game seven, beat them here at home. I think they’ll want revenge — the players that are returning — but I know the guys in our room want it even more.” He also spoke on the potential to match up with Pictou or Yarmouth, as well as the Eastlink North division matchups. “They’re all good teams. I think it can go either way on that side, too. Whoever we end up playing, I think it’ll be a great round” “We’ve got four great teams coming out of New Brunswick and P.E.I. going to the playoffs. Whoever we play in the finals, if we get that far… I think it’ll be a tough matchup and it’ll be a lot of fun.” When asked what he expects the Bearcats will bring to the playoffs this year, Humberdredge spoke of the team’s energy, knowing that he and several others won’t be returning next year. “We’ll bring a lot more energy,” he responded. “I think the boys are realizing that the season's coming to an end and that for, at least seven of us, it’s going to be our last few games wearing a Bearcats jersey or playing junior hockey. “We all want to win, and we’re all going to do what needs to be done to see if we can win.” BEYOND THE BEARCATS With his last year in Truro soon coming to a close, Humber-dredge is gearing up for his next steps. Since his time with the Bearcats, he’s been taking a couple of online courses each semester at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. He hopes to get into the classroom at a Nova Scotian university soon — furthermore, he hopes to get onto a university hockey team. Humber-dredge has come to appreciate Truro during his time with the Bearcats. “The people are really nice here. It’s not too big, it’s not too small. I think it’s a good Jr. A spot — you’re not far from Halifax if you need to go into town. “I really like it here. I’m going to miss it.” He said when he ages out, he’ll especially miss the fans. “Last year in the playoffs, I felt the fans were amazing. We’d have 2,000 fans to a game and there’d be so much energy on the rink from all the fans. It’d be hard if we didn’t have that energy on the bench. “I feel like it really helps the team there when all the fans are into it. Everyone just gets into the game and it helps us play the way we need to play.” This year, he’s calling for fans to bring that same energy to the stands — an energy that will no doubt be felt on the bench. “I hope that, in the playoffs, we get a lot of fans out. We have a special group, and we can go for a deep playoff run — we just need the support of all of Truro and the fans.”