Players, parents happy to have Midget X opportunity
The Cape Breton Midget X Hockey League has been underway for close to a month, and although it’s not high school hockey, the players and parents are still enjoying it.
Hockey Nova Scotia put out a call in December for any high school players in the province looking for a place to play. School sports teams have been sidelined since Dec. 5, because of the work-to-rule job action by the Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union.
The Cape Breton Midget X Hockey League began play in January. The league features displaced players from Riverview, Glace Bay, Memorial and Sydney Academy, who play for teams under the Cape Breton County, Glace Bay Minor Hockey, Northside and District Minor Hockey and Sydney Minor Hockey associations, respectively.
The season began with exhibition games early last month, leading to the start of the league in mid-January.
Although it’s not as hyped as high school hockey, the majority of players, like Cole MacPhee of the Cape Breton County X-Men, are enjoying the opportunity to once again be able to play.
“With the Midget X league at least we are able to play the game we love,” said MacPhee. “It’s better then sitting on the couch at home doing nothing.”
“The league is the same tempo as the high school league. It’s good hockey and I’m sure the fans are enjoying it just as much.” said the forward.
The players are not the only ones happy to see a league for the players to play in.
Alicia Doyle, whose son plays for the Sydney Steelers, said the league has its benefits.
“The kids are able to once again play competitive hockey, and it keeps them activity,” said Doyle. “It’s disappointing there’s no high school hockey, but hockey is hockey and I’m just glad there’s a league for the kids to play.”
If the high school hockey league was in operation, this weekend would have marked the annual Red Cup Showcase at the Cape Breton County Recreation Centre.
On Feb. 3, Close to 80 students from Riverview Rural High School attended the X-Men game against the Glace Bay Miners, wearing their red and white shirts, making the most out of the situation with no Red Cup.
“It meant a lot to us as players to see the students come to our game and support us, even though it’s not the Red Cup,” said MacPhee. “It was nice to see a crowd like that coming to watch us. We all go to Riverview, so it good for them to come down and watch us.”
The Midget X league games are part of an abbreviated 12game schedule. The provincials for the league will be held during the annual SEDMHA minor hockey tournament in Halifax, March 30 to April 2. Seedings will be determined by regular season standings, and Hockey Nova Scotia will award a provincial banner to the championship team.
Cape Breton Midget X Hockey League action continued on Friday at the Cape Breton County Recreation Centre with the host Cape Breton County X-Men defeating the Sydney Steelers 6-4.
Dustin Sudds led the offense for the X-Men, scoring four goals, while Quin Shannon and Christian Hardy each scored single markers.
Sam Gillis, Brayden MacKinnon, Ben Gillis and Aiden O’Rourke replied with goals for the Steelers.
Owen MacPhee picked up the win in goal for Cape Breton County. Noah Burns was tagged with the loss for Sydney.
Cape Breton Midget X Hockey League action continues on Sunday with the Glace Bay Miners hosting the Northside Vikings at 7:30 p.m. at the Bayplex in Glace Bay.
Dustin Sudds, left, of the Cape Breton County X-Men, prepares to make a move on Mark Bates of the Sydney Steelers during Cape Breton Midget X Hockey League at the Cape Breton County Recreation Centre on Friday. The X-Men won the game 6-4.