Local players active in mainland leagues
Six young hockey players from the Trinity Conception area are continuing to develop their skills by joining mainland teams, with hopes of one day following in the footsteps of Harbour Grace’s Danny Cleary, who toils for the Detroit Red Wings, or women’s national team star Hayley Wickenheiser.
Harbour Grace’s Brett Shute is suiting up for the Amherst Ramblers of the Maritime Junior Hockey League, an 11-team league. The team’s general manager is former CeeBees star and Harbour Grace native Corey Crocker.
As of last Wednesday, the 17-yearold forward had one goal and two assists for the team in 11 games. The previous two years, Shute played for the Tri-Pen Frost midget team. He was picked up in the fourth round, 43rd overall, of the MJHL draft in June.
Lucas Yetman, 17, a defenceman from Carbonear, is playing his first season with the Ontario Hockey Academy Mavericks in Cornwall, Ont. He was a teammate of Shute’s on the Tri-Pen Frost.
Ontario Hockey Academy is a coed prep school focused on academics and hockey. The team competes with other clubs from southern Ontario, as well as some in the northeast United States, including Buffalo, New York.
Yetman managed to obtain a partial scholarship to attend the school. The school has served as a launching pad for players looking to play major junior or collegiate hockey.
Meanwhile, in New Brunswick, Taylor Anderson of Harbour Grace is fine-tuning her own talents playing defence at Rothesay Netherwood School in Rothesay, a community located a short distance from Saint John.
The team plays in the North American Prep Hockey Association, a 10-team league featuring schools from the United States and Canada.
Members of Anderson’s team practice at an on-campus rink, and also take part in off-ice training exercises with a fully certified trainer. It’s her first season in Rothesay, and the opportunity to attend the school for Grade 12 came about thanks to a scholarship awarded to Anderson.
Prior to joining the Riverhawks, Anderson, 17, played with the Conception Bay CeeBees under-20 female team, as well as the CeeBees midget team.
Anderson was also a participant in the 2010 Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games, and recently played for Newfoundland and Labrador at the Atlantic Challenge Cup on the under-18 team. Her team lost the bronze medal game on Oct. 11 to Nova Scotia by a score of 21. Natalie Keeping of Bay Roberts and Alicia Gillam of Whitbourne also played for the under-18 team.
After Grade 12, Anderson will have her sights set on attracting the attention of a college or university to continue her hockey career. She might want to take a lesson or two from Peggy Wakeham of Bay Roberts.
A senior at the University of Vermont, Wakeham patrols the blueline for the Vermont Catamonts, a Division I team in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Wakeham is an important player on her team ever since getting her start as a freshman in 2007. She was a member of the 2007-08 Hockey East All Academic Team in her rookie season, and set a team record for points by a defenceman with 22 in 33 games.
The next year, Wakeham was named a Hockey East All-Star, and joined that team for an exhibition game against the U.S. Women’s National Team.
As of last Wednesday, Wakeham had been held pointless in four games for the Catamonts, playing on the left side of the team’s top pair on defence.
Before moving down south, she captained the Ascension Collegiate Astros, and was the MVP for the girls’ team as a junior and senior. Wakeham was also an assistant captain for the Bay Arena Midget AA boys’ team from 2005 to 2007.
Jacob Lewis of Butlerville is playing junior hockey with the Cumberland Grads in Navan, Ont., near Ottawa. It plays in the 12-team Central Hockey League Tier I.
The 19-year-old spent last year with the CBN Junior Stars in Bay Roberts, and was a member of the Tri-Pen Frost the year before.
In 11 games as of last Wednesday, the defenceman had recorded 15 penalty minutes and no points.
Finally, Robert Slaney of Upper Island Cove is continuing his quest to make it in the professional ranks.
The Toronto Maple Leafs signed Slaney, 22, to an entry-level contract in April 2009.
Last season, the former Cape Breton Screaming Eagle split his time between the Leafs’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies, and the East Coast Hockey League’s Reading Royals. In 22 games with the Royals, Slaney scored one goal and added 10 helpers in 22 games, also adding six assists in 34 games with the Marlies.
As of Wednesday, the left-winger had appeared in two games with the Royals, and had been held pointless in both contests.