High school hockey returns
Three-team league opens play on Sunday
The Cape Breton High School Hockey League is set to start this weekend with a league that’s quite different than years past.
The 2017-18 season will feature only three teams: the Memorial Marauders, Riverview Redman and Glace Bay Panthers. Sydney Academy was unable to ice a team due to a lack of players.
Although there are only three teams competing this season, Terry Duff, Memorial’s coach for the last three years, said his team is excited to play high school hockey. Most of the players skated in a local midget ‘X’ league for a portion of last season because the work-to-rule job action cut the high school hockey season short.
“The midget ‘X’ helped provide some hockey for the kids but it wasn’t the same atmosphere as playing for your school. The kids are excited to get back at it, they like representing their school and the atmosphere surrounding the team,” said Duff, who will be coaching a very different team this year, after losing 15 players from last season.
Along with new players, the league will also be getting new coaches. This will be the first year of coaching high school hockey for both Riverview’s head coach, Jimmy Smith, and Glace Bay’s head coach, Dwayne Doucette.
Smith, who’s from New Waterford, has been coaching minor hockey for 12 years. He said he’s been following the league for several years and believes he has a talented team that can compete with the other clubs in the league.
“It’s a great team. There’s amazing leadership in our team and good Grade 12s with great attitudes who really want to have a bounce back year,” he said. Smith added that his entire team is itching to start the new season.
“They’re as excited as anything. They’re all ready to get going.”
Doucette has been coaching minor hockey for 13 years. He said that although the league is different than previous years, his players are ready as every other team in the league to start their season.
“The league is going through some changes from what I can see, but the kids are thrilled to be back. It’s all they’ve been talking about, especially in Glace Bay. High school hockey is big in Glace Bay and they’re pretty excited that the season is starting again,” said Doucette, who will be coaching his first year with the Panthers with eight returning players.
The first game of the Cape Breton High School Hockey League is set for Sunday at 7 p.m., when Memorial will take on Glace Bay at Canada Games Complex at Cape Breton University.
Evan Hiscock of the Memorial Marauders, right, is one of only three veteran players back from last year’s roster. The Cape Breton High School Hockey League season opens Sunday when the Glace Bay Panthers host Memorial at the Canada Games Complex.