GOING FOR ATLANTIC TITLE
Eskasoni’s Leon Denny playing for Junior ‘A’ hockey championship this week.
Leon Denny may be a rookie with the Truro Bearcats, but that doesn’t mean he’s been getting rookie minutes.
The 17-year-old defenceman from Eskasoni has earned the confidence and praise from head coach Shawn Evans. He said Denny has the skill set: a strong skater, shooter and passer. Being a coveted righthanded shot on the blue-line helps as well.
“When the chips are down, he’s been in our top four or five and has played,” said Evans. “It’s been a pleasure to coach him. He’s easy to coach, and I don’t know what the future holds for him once the season’s over, but he’s got a bright future as a young defenceman.”
After a brief tryout with the Yarmouth Mariners at the start of the season, Denny rejoined the Cape Breton Unionized Tradesmen of the Nova Scotia Eastlink Major Midget Hockey League, playing 11 games. He then made the jump to the Maritime Hockey League and the Bearcats, where he scored nine goals and added eight assists in 39 regular-season contests.
“It’s a great opportunity to play with older guys and guys who have been around the league,” he said. “Some experienced guys have helped me along the way.”
In the playoffs, Denny and the Bearcats went on to capture the MHL championship, defeating the Miramichi Timberwolves 4-3 in Game 7 on April 28 in Miramichi.
“As the season went along, we were getting better and better,” said Denny. “At playoff time, we were the top team in the league.”
The Bearcats are competing at the 2017 Fred Page Cup, the Eastern Canadian junior ‘A’ championship being contested in Terrebonne, Que., this week. They’re 0-2 at the tournament so far, with losses of 8-2 to the host Terrebonne Cobras on Wednesday and a 6-4 setback to the Collège Français de Longueuil on Thursday.
Truro hopes to rebound today at 5 p.m. Atlantic time against the Carleton Place Canadians of Ontario.
“The teams are really fast and they play with a lot of structure,” said Denny. “We’ll try for the win (today).
“It’s a great place to play,” he said of the competition. “There are a lot of great, strong fast guys who have major-junior experience.”
As for next season, Denny is hoping to make yet another jump — to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. He was drafted by the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in the second round, No. 33 overall, in the 2016 draft.
Leon Denny of Eskasoni has logged important minutes in his rookie season with the Truro Bearcats of the Maritime Hockey League. The Bearcats are competing at the 2017 Fred Page Cup, the Eastern Canadian junior ‘A’ championship being contested in Terrebonne, Que.