High school hockey re­turns

Three-team league opens play on Sun­day

Cape Breton Post - - Sports - BY CHRIS­TIAN ROACH Chris­tian.roach@cb­post.com

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.

T.J. COLELLO/CAPE BRE­TON POST

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.

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