Harris remembered as a quiet leader
Sibley’s Cove teen killed in single-vehicle accident
The gymnasium at Baccalieu Collegiate was a hard place to be on Dec. 21.
A capacity crowd was there to honour 17-yearold Brandon Harris, a young man from Sibley’s Cove who lost his life four days earlier in a tragic car accident.
It was not just the gym that was full of people paying their respects, but also the hallways, stage and school cafeteria.
Some 30 members of the CeeBees’ Minor Hockey Association, including 10 who played with Brandon, were in attendance.
“It was emotional, to say the least,” said Upper Island Cove’s Bradley Riggs.
Riggs and Brandon were teammates for years coming up through the CeeBees’ system. Riggs is one year older than his former linemate.
Every second year from squirt to bantam, the pair would spend the winter setting each other up at various hockey rinks around the province. When they reached the midget level, Riggs and Harris spent the next two years on the same team.
“Brandon was always the goal scorer on our line. I was the one passing him the puck,” said Riggs. “He was the finesse player and he could carry the puck like no one else on our team.”
Many teammates in the days since the accident have called Brandon a leader. He never spoke much in the dressing room, unless he was really fired up, but he showed it on the ice.
“(Brandon) was one of those quiet leaders,” said Riggs. “You never went into the corners alone, he was always there to support you. He led
With just four games remaining in the Newfoundland and Labrador Major Midget Hockey League regular season, one thing is becoming apparent with the Tri Pen Osprey (17-11).
The team can score. Through 28 games, the Osprey have found the back of their opponent’s net 121 times.
That puts them tops in the fiveteam league and 18 goals ahead of the St. John’s Maple Leafs, who have 109 goals in their favour.
At their current pace, the team could register 147 goals on the season. That would double the total they produced as a team last season.
“Scoring punch has not been an issue,” said coach Scott Akerman.
Offensive firepower and the ability to put the puck in the net mean a couple of things. For starters, it means you’re never out of a game and generally, when your team gets in a shootout, you’ll come out on top.
But, hockey is played at both ends and that is where the coach would like to see them improve ahead of the playoffs.
“We have to cut down on goals,” said Akerman.
The Osprey have yielded a thirdworst 95 goals against this season. For the team, the thought process has to be defence first. They know
by his play on the ice.”
A big family
In the world of sports, once you’ve made a team, you’re part of a family. Each one of your teammates becomes a sibling of sorts. They become the people you would want to share a foxhole with above everyone else.
By all accounts, Brandon was that person. In the hours following his sudden passing, teammates and opponents took to social media to sing his praises.
“(Brandon) was very competitive and respectful,” said Tri Pen Osprey coach Scott Akerman, who coached Brandon at the AAA level. Akerman said Brandon was a quiet kid in the dressing room, but showed his competitive spirit on the ice.
Players from the major midget Tri Pen Osprey recently wore a sticker on their helmets to honour Brandon. It was a black and gold ribbon with a large No. 7 in the middle. It was his number on the ice and a small gesture of support for their fallen teammate.
Many current players with the Osprey were AAA teammates with Brandon. They chose to pay tribute to him at a recent tournament in Lewisporte.
“(Brandon) was a family member who is and always will be a part of this,” said Akerman. “We had players and officials coming up to us offering condolences and asking questions.
“It was unbelievable how many people he touched.” can roll out to high-powered lines and support them with another two that might not score as much but are just as big a threat.
For evidence of this, look no further than a recent series with the St. John’s Privateers. It was the third and fourth lines that sparked Tri Pen’s three-goal comeback in the second game.
“We are more than a two-line team,” said Akerman.
That much is true, but it helps when a team can attack their opponent with a pair that is a threat every time they touch the puck.
The line of Conal McNamara, Nathaniel Duffett and Ethan Street has combined for an impressive 77 points. Augmenting that scoring output is the line of Ryan Dawson, Lyndon Thorne and Cameron Simms.
That trio has 87 points. All of this, coupled with six more players with at least a dozen points, makes the Osprey a tough team to cover.
“It is a nice card for a coach to play,” said Akerman.
Whi l e they may not be t he flashiest bunch with the puck, the Osprey defenceman bring their lunch pail and hard hat to work every game according to Akerman.
Sibley’s Cove’s Brandon Harris was tragically killed in a automobile accident on Dec. 17. He was 17. Harris is shown here competing at the 2013 Blueberry Harvest Run in Harbour Grace.