Back in ‘Black’

Mackey, Black Ban­dits ready to de­fend Eastern Cana­dian crown

The Compass - - OPINION - BYMATTMOLLOY TC ME­DIA

The Home Hard­ware Black Ban­dits of Clarenville will at­tempt to de­fend its 2011 Eastern Cana­dian Ball Hockey Champi - ons h i p t i t le when the 2012 event kicks off July 27.

Glover­town’s An­gela Mackey was a mem­ber of the 2011 Eastern Cana­dian cham­pi­ons, and has re­turned to the fold for the 2012 tour­ney.

The pro­lific goal scorer fin­ished with a goal and two as­sists in last year’s event, and she plans to add to those to­tals at this year’s event, which runs July 27-29.

“I think my role is the same,” said Mackey. “I’m expected to bring my en­ergy and high level of com­pe­ti­tion to the team, and play the best I can.”

The 2011 ver­sion of the Black Ban­dits won the Eastern Cana­dian ti­tle with a 3-2 win over the Chatham Coy­otes.

The ex­pe­ri­ence of win­ning that ti­tle will cer­tainly pay div­i­dends for Mackey, who rarely gets an op­por­tu­nity to com­pete in such a high-level ball hockey tour­na­ment.

“The com­pe­ti­tion in Montreal will be a lot dif­fer­ent than what I’m used to see­ing in high school ball hockey. It’s a lot more in­tense and the com­pe­ti­tion is harder,” said Mackey. “We play on a rink sur­face in­stead of in a school gym, so it is to­tally dif­fer­ent than high school ball hockey.”

In say­ing that, Mackey is con­fi­dent the Clarenville-based team has a strong chance to medal be­cause of the amount of skill and ded­i­ca­tion that’s on the ros­ter, and be­cause of their strong prepa­ra­tion.

“I feel like we are head­ing to Montreal as the best team we can be,” said the left-winger. “Our team is based in Clarenville, but there are play­ers from oth e r a reas oth er than Clarenville. Tom Walsh, our head coach, con­tacted me a few years ago and asked me if I wanted to play. The team is a bunch of girls that have known each other for a whi le through ice hockey and other sports.”

Other than help­ing the Black Ban­dits win its 2011 Eastern Cana­dian and pro­vin­cial ti­tles, Mackey also helped the squad to the 2012 pro­vin­cial ti­tle, which gave the team the right to com­pete at this year’s Eastern Cana­dian ex­trav­a­ganza.

How­ever, since the team con­sists of play­ers from across the is­land, find­ing time to fine-tune their skills as a team has been chal­leng­ing.

“Prac­tices are hard to get to, as ev­ery­one has dif­fer­ent work sched­ules,” said Mackey. “So, if we can’t make prac­tices, it’s our re­spon­si­bil­ity to keep fit and be ready to play on game day.”

And when the team hits the floor in Montreal, Mackey said it’s their di­verse skill level that will lead them to a medal.

Ev­ery­body brings some­thing dif­fer­ent to the fold, and ac­cord­ing to the past two years, that di­verse mix of skill has been pay­ing off for the Black Ban­dits.

“A huge strength of the team is the va­ri­ety of skills that each in­di­vid­ual car­ries. Ev­ery­one has their job and we all do it well,” said Mackey. “We have a great all-round team. For ex­am­ple, we have girls who are the goal scor­ers, girls who play the power play, and girls who are strong on the back­end. I think we are suc­cess­ful be­cause we are all pas­sion­ate about it and we are all com­mit­ted to do­ing what it takes to be suc­cess­ful.

“I am so ex­cited to be head­ing to Montreal. This is what I look for­ward to in the sum­mer. I have such a great time with my team and we al­ways have so much fun.”

The Black Ban­dits be­gin its ti­tle de­fence July 27 against the Coy­otes de Lanaudiere, and later that day against the Vanier Son­ics. The New­found­land and Labrador team will play the St. John Thun­der­cats and St. John Ea­gles on July 28, and fin­ish its round-robin sched­ule with a tilt against the Vanier Wild on July 29.

“Look out Montreal,” said Mackey. “The New­found­lan­ders are com­ing!”

BLAC K B A N D I T — Glover­town’s An­gela Mackey,

mmol­loy@gan­der­bea­con.ca

Twit­ter @Bea­con­Sports12

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