RAM­BLERS HAND OUT 2017-18 AWARDS

The Amherst News - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVE MATHIESON

The Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ram­blers held their 2018, year-end ban­quet Wed­nes­day night at the Knights of Colum­bus Hall in Amherst.

Team cap­tain Jor­dan King wrapped up his ju­nior hockey ca­reer with four Ram­blers awards; MVP, top scorer, fans choice, and play­ers choice. King lead the Amherst Ram­blers on the reg­u­lar-sea­son score­board with 78 points, 28 goals and 50 as­sists in 50 games, and added three goals and six as­sists in seven play­off games against the South Shore Lum­ber­jacks.

King is one of eight 20-year-old play­ers who won’t be back with the Ram­blers next sea­son. Jeff LeBlanc, Ram­blers coach and gen­eral man­ager, thanked them for their ser­vice to the Ram­blers or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“I don’t look at just what they do on the ice, I look at what they’ve done off the ice as well,” said LeBlanc. “Just two days ago Jor­dan King stopped to play ball hockey with a fan while he was driv­ing through Amherst. I don’t teach that stuff, that’s some­thing you have to have and has to be in you.”

LeBlanc joined the Ram­blers three years ago, and sev­eral de­part­ing play­ers have been with the team nearly as long, or longer.

“Lay­ton Par­sons has been here two years. I’ve coached Lu­cas Sang­ster for three years now. He was here my first year when times weren’t so great and we weren’t mak­ing the playoffs, and I’ve had Jor­dan King for three years now,” said LeBlanc. “I worked with those play­ers three years ago and I look at them to­day and they are all men. They’ve all turned into men, and they’ve done a great job for our or­ga­ni­za­tion while they’ve been here.”

Sang­ster says his time with the Ram­blers has flown by.

“Ev­ery year the 20-year-olds say, ‘don’t blink, it goes by so fast,’ and you al­ways shrug it off and never be­lieve it,” said Sang­ster. “And now it’s here and I’m the one say­ing it to them in the dress­ing room. It’s come full cir­cle.”

Sang­ster started with the Ram­blers when he was 16-year­sold and has been play­ing with them full­time since he was 17. He turns 21 on April 11.

“It’s a sur­real mo­ment,” said Sang­ster. “I started play­ing hockey here when I was so young, and it def­i­nitely feels dif­fer­ent be­ing the old­est guy leav­ing.”

Sang­ster, along with Jake Barter, are the two de­fence­men not re­turn­ing next year, and they are joined by six for­wards; Jor­dan King, Lay­ton Par­sons, Liam Con­rad, Will Bower, Brady GriffinH­ef­ford, and Jor­dan Re­naud.

The Ram­blers host the Fred Page Cup in 2019, and can­not waste any time to re­place those eight play­ers for next year.

“Our sea­son was done on Mon­day (in their March 26, Game 7 loss to the South Shore Lum­ber­jacks) and we had a meet­ing on Thurs­day,” said LeBlanc. “We have to turn the page very quickly be­cause the Fred Page Cup is just over one year away.”

The Ram­blers are cur­rently look­ing at two de­fence­men in the Que­bec Ma­jor Ju­nior Hockey League to re­place Sang­ster and Barter.

“We’re watch­ing a lot of the Q playoffs to see who is in and who’s out; who might be in next year, and who might be out next year,” said LeBlanc.

QMJHL de­fence­men they hope to bring to Amherst in­clude Hal­i­fax Moose­head player Cooper Jones and Chicoutimi Saguenéens player Mor­gan Nauss.

“They just got knocked out of the playoffs, so we’ll see what hap­pens with those two de­fence­men over the sum­mer­time,” said LeBlanc. “I don’t know if both will play Ma­jor Ju­nior or not. We’ll see what hap­pens but there could be a good chance of get­ting one of them here.”

The Ram­blers have five prospects who played in the At­lantic Mid­get AAA tour­na­ment last week­end, in­clud­ing 1st team all­star Nick Gosse of the St. John Maple Leafs, Alex Wyn­ter of the Monc­ton Fly­ers, Cole Dar­rach, also of the Monc­ton Fly­ers, Fly­ers goal­tender Daniel Thomp­son, who was named the tour­na­ment’s top goal­tender and MVP,

and Bran­don Stone of the Cole Har­bour Wolf­pack, who played four games with the Ram­blers early this past sea­son.

“We have a lot of good prospects in the bank, so we’ll work hard to try to get them here and go from there,” said LeBlanc.

DAVE MATHIESON – AMHERST NEWS

Ram­blers play­ers who picked up awards Wed­nes­day night in­clude: (from left) Liam Con­rad, Lu­cas Sang­ster, Brady Grif­fin-Hef­ford, Jor­dan King, Joel Goguen, and Will Laf­ford.

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