Ti­tans gear­ing up for ti­tle de­fence in men’s hockey

Sackville Tribune - - SPORTS - SPE­CIAL TO THE TRI­BUNE- POST

It took the Tantra­mar Re­gional High School Ti­tans men’s hockey team 20 years to reach the top rung and they have no in­ten­tions on let­ting any­one knock them off.

With much of the core team lost to grad­u­a­tion, coach Ernie Austin and his staff will look to a hand­ful of vet­er­ans and a group of quick rook­ies to wear the Ti­tan crest and carry on what has be­come a hockey team of con­tenders, year af­ter year. The Ti­tans are the only team to reach the provin­cial fi­nal in each of the past three years so all AA squads from around New Brunswick will be keep­ing an eye on TRHS.

This Fri­day night they host the Saint John Grey­hounds in an ex­hi­bi­tion tilt. The puck drops at 6:45 p.m. The Grey­hounds have had a rough cou­ple of sea­sons but are look­ing to ice a more com­pet­i­tive team this year.

The Ti­tans for­wards con­sist of vets Justin Vo­gels, Seth Smith, Dakota Me­lan­son, Ri­ley Estabrooks and Oliver Long­pre, with rook­ies Brady Se­nior, Jax Wells, Con­nor Cad­man, Eian Cad­man, Cory Gould, Colby Tower and Joe Car­pen­ter.

On de­fence, Ja­cob Estabrooks is pro­vid­ing lead­er­ship along with sec­ond-year player Ma­son Prescott. Jory Par­sons, Jesse Estabrooks and Colby Ac­ton round out this year’s rear­guards.

Net­min­der Sam Tower is back for his fourth year and is team­ing up with Noah Boyd in the crease.

The team will rely on a high­tempo pass­ing game with a re­lent­less forecheck to over­whelm op­po­nents this year.

All mi­nor play­ers wear­ing their mi­nor hockey jer­seys will be ad­mit­ted free this Fri­day night.

Curl­ing is a sport peo­ple of all ages – from five to 95 – can play and en­joy with its phys­i­cal and so­cial as­pects, ac­cord­ing to Dr. Cathy John­son, who serves on the board of di­rec­tors of the Sackville Curl­ing Club (SCC).

John­son out­lined the var­i­ous ben­e­fits the game pro­vides for those tak­ing part. She pointed out that while the lo­cal three-sheet ice sur­face is con­sid­ered a recre­ational club, it also of­fers a place for some se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion.

Over the years it has sent a good num­ber of mem­bers to provin­cial and na­tional com­pe­ti­tions, with Heather Smith a prime ex­am­ple as she holds a va­ri­ety of na­tional hon­ours, in­clud­ing ju­nior ladies and mixed.

And it of­fers un­lim­ited time for those who join the club, in ad­di­tion to plenty of tu­tor­ing for new­com­ers. For ex­am­ple, the mem­ber­ship fee for first year mem­bers is $129, and rises to $220 for sec­ond-year curlers. A full mem­ber­ship costs $275 and the fee is $175 for ju­niors.

Any­one with time on their hands could spend hours ev­ery week ei­ther com­pet­ing or prac­tis­ing as ice is avail­able daily with plenty of in­struc­tion as an op­tion.

As usual, John­son says the num­ber of peo­ple ac­tu­ally en­joy­ing the sport lo­cally will be in the 150 range.

And she says the pub­lic is in­vited to visit the club at any time; they can be­come ac­cli­ma­tized to the game by ob­serv­ing from the lounge or try­ing a “hands-on” ap­proach.

There are sched­ules for both men and women in morn­ing draws, as well as other times des­ig­nated for ladies, men and mixed ses­sions, along with univer­sity stu­dents and ju­niors. In ad­di­tion, some spe­cial matches will be held on Wed­nes­days, for­merly an open day, and some on Sun­days.

The sport of curl­ing was first in­tro­duced to Sackville in 1895, 124 years ago. It has evolved from a recre­ational ve­hi­cle for the “up­per crust” to to­day, when a good cross-sec­tion of the com­mu­nity is in­volved.

There were 34 mem­bers in that first club, each pay­ing dues of $5 and an ice rink was rented for $100 for the sea­son. The first set of stones were pur­chased that year with each mem­ber pay­ing $12.55 for a set.

The fol­low­ing year a new rink was built at Memo­rial Park and com­pe­ti­tions con­tin­ued there un­til 1904. At this point a new rink – oper­ated by the Curl­ing Rink Com­pany – was con­structed on West Main Street and in 1908 ladies took up the game. The club did not op­er­ate dur­ing the First World War but re­sumed in 1927. This build­ing was torn

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