‘X’cel­lent hockey

Play­ers, par­ents happy to have Mid­get X op­por­tu­nity

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY JEREMY FRASER jeremy.fraser@cb­post.com

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.

JEREMY FRASER/CAPE BRE­TON POST

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.

Doyle

MacPhee

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