CAPE BRETON CONTENT
Cole Reginato of Albert Bridge wins President Cup with Sea Dogs
Cole Reginato playing for Saint John in Memorial Cup.
Cole Reginato always dreamed about playing in the QMJHL and winning a league title, but he never thought it would ever happen.
His dream of playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League came true last year, splitting the season between the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and the Saint John Sea Dogs, but what Reginato didn’t know was his second dream would also come true.
The Albert Bridge resident captured the President Cup title on Wednesday, helping the Saint John Sea Dogs defeat the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 5-1 at the Centre d’excellence Sports Rousseau in Boisbriand, Que., sweeping the league final 4-0.
The championship win for the Sea Dogs was the team’s third league title in franchise history, with the first coming in 2011, a year the team also won the MasterCard Memorial Cup.
Reginato was on the ice for the final seconds of Game 4.
“It was an amazing experience,” said the 19-year-old forward. “At the 15-second mark ,I started looking at the clock — I think my gloves were off with 10 seconds left, I couldn’t wait the extra 10 seconds to celebrate.”
Reginato’s journey to winning the President Cup wasn’t an easy one.
After playing one season with the Cape Breton Tradesmen of the Nova Scotia Eastlink Major Midget Hockey League and not getting drafted into the QMJHL, Reginato was selected by the Yarmouth Mariners in round four, 44th overall, at the 2014 Maritime Hockey League Entry Draft.
He went on to play one year with the Junior A Mariners during the 2014-15 season, before being invited to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles training camp in August 2015. Reginato would crack the Screaming Eagles roster out of camp, appearing in 24 games with the Cape Breton squad that season.
Following the 2015-16 QMJHL trade period, the Screaming
Eagles placed the hometown boy on waivers, where he would later be claimed by the Saint John Sea Dogs in January 2016.
In 66 regular season games with Saint John this year, Reginato had nine goals and 29 points along with 108 penalty minutes. Meanwhile, in 16 playoff games, he added three goals and five points.
Winning a President Cup is a moment Reginato will never forget.
“All last summer I trained really hard with the hopes of being able to play in the Memorial Cup,” said Reginato. “I knew we had a good team, so I trained hard for it and now it’s here so it’s really a dream come true.”
Reginato becomes the first Cape Breton player to win a
President Cup title since 2011 when Michael Kirkpatrick of North Sydney won the league title, also with the Sea Dogs. Reginato isn’t the only Cape Bretoner to win this year’s President Cup as the Sea Dogs’ assistant coach, Paul Boutilier, is from Coxheath.
The Sea Dogs breezed through the first two rounds of the QMJHL playoffs, sweeping back-to-back series against the Rimouski Océanic and Val-d’Or Foreurs. In the league semifinals, Saint John needed six games to knock off the Chicoutimi Saguenéens, the team’s only speed bump in the playoffs, before beating the Armada in the final.
In winning the President Cup, the Sea Dogs will now advance to the MasterCard Memorial
Cup, May 19-28, in Windsor, Ont. By advancing to the national tournament early, Saint John will have a week off before they hit the ice at the event.
Reginato is looking forward to participating in the tournament.
“It’s going to be tough, of course, every team there is going to be good, but we’re ready to face them — it should be a battle,” said Reginato. “I’m getting lots of texts from people saying how well run this tournament is and how fun it is — whatever happens it will be a great experience.”
Saint John will open the MasterCard Memorial Cup on Friday, May 19, against the host Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) at 8 p.m. The Sea Dogs will also play the OHL champion on May 22 at 8 p.m., and the Western Hockey League champion on May 23 at 8 p.m., all game times are Atlantic and can be seen live nationally on Sportsnet.
The MasterCard Memorial Cup final is scheduled for May 28 at 8 p.m. at the WFCU Centre in Windsor.
Cole Reginato of Albert Bridge hoists the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s President Cup after the Saint John Sea Dogs 5-1 win over the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada at the Centre d’excellence Sports Rousseau in Boisbriand, Que., on Wednesday. The Sea Dogs swept the league final 4-0.