Antigo­nish’s Smith named cap­tain of Scream­ing Ea­gles

The Casket - - Health&wellness - RICHARD MACKEN­ZIE richard­mac@the­cas­

It’s a pretty cool ex­pe­ri­ence when you get to play for the team you grew up cheer­ing for.

It adds an­other level of ex­cite­ment and grat­i­fi­ca­tion when you’re named cap­tain of that team.

That’s the case for Antigo­nish’s De­clan Smith who, re­cently, was named cap­tain of the Que­bec Ma­jor Ju­nior Hockey League’s Cape Bre­ton Scream­ing Ea­gles for the 2018-19 sea­son.

“It’s a pretty big hon­our; I was al­ways cheer­ing for this team when I was younger so be­ing a leader on the team now, is a big deal to me,” Smith said, talk­ing to the Cas­ket prior to the Scream­ing Ea­gles’ game in Char­lot­te­town, Sept. 22.

Smith is in his fourth year with the Syd­ney-based team af­ter be­ing drafted by the Saint John Sea Dogs in the fourth round of the 2014 QMJHL draft.

He was traded to the Scream­ing Ea­gles that same year and played in three games as a call-up, from the Port Hood-based Cape Bre­ton West Ma­jor Midget Is­lan­ders, at the end of the 2014-15 sea­son.

Smith, who also played a hand­ful of games as a call-up to the Antigo­nish Farm­ers’ Mu­tual Ju­nior Bull­dogs while in Port Hood, was an al­ter­nate cap­tain for Cape Bre­ton West.

“This is the first time I’ve been cap­tain in my hockey ca­reer,” Smith said, while also not­ing what he’ll bring to the role.

“Be­ing a good ex­am­ple, I think, is a big one … es­pe­cially for the younger guys,” he said.

“Speak­ing up in the room has a bit to do with it too, but it’s not just words, you have to show ac­tions too; I think that is big part of be­ing cap­tain.”

A cen­tre, known for his rugged style and strong two-way game, Smith said he ex­pects the Scream­ing Ea­gles to have a “pretty big year.”

“Our team looks re­ally good and I can’t wait to see what the sea­son brings,” he said.

“I think we have a strong core and ev­ery­one in here is fam­ily. It’s look­ing good; I can’t wait to get go­ing.”

The big ad­di­tion to the Scream­ing Ea­gles line-up is Syd­ney’s own Mitchell Bal­mas; a proven scorer in the league who was picked-up from last year’s Memo­rial Cup cham­pi­ons, the Acadie-bathurst Ti­tan.

“He is go­ing to be a big help for us,” Smith said, not­ing too it’s great Bal­mas, named an al­ter­nate cap­tain, is get­ting an op­por­tu­nity to play in his home­town to con­clude his ju­nior ca­reer.

“Get­ting to play his last year of ju­nior at home is pretty nice, too.”

The Scream­ing Ea­gles are home for a cou­ple of games this week.

Thurs­day (Oct. 4) they host the Blainville-bois­briand Ar­mada and on Satur­day, they face-off ver­sus the Gatineau Olympiques.

Both games at Cen­tre 200 are 7 p.m. puck drops.

Our team looks re­ally good and I can’t wait to see what the sea­son brings.”

Cape Bre­ton Scream­ing Ea­gles cap­tain De­clan Smith

Cape Bre­ton Scream­ing Ea­gles

Antigo­nish’s De­clan Smith, pic­tured in ac­tion last sea­son for the Cape Bre­ton Scream­ing Ea­gles, has been named cap­tain of the QMJHL team for the 2018-19 sea­son.

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