Fans should keep their eyes on Hef­fer­nan Sur­prise Colch­ester County sup­port for Sill in Czech Repub­lic

Truro Daily News - - Sports - Lyle Carter Lyle Carter’s sports col­umn ap­pears weekly in the Truro News. If you have a story idea, con­tact him at 902 673-2857.

Ar­riv­ing early for a Truro Bearcats prac­tice and an in­ter­view with de­fence­man Cur­tis Hef­fer­nan, I made my way to the lower level of the Rath Eastlink Com­mu­nity Cen­tre.

Want­ing to have a closer look at the glass-covered Bearcats show­case, I was es­pe­cially in­ter­ested in a trib­ute paid to He er­nan and Jack Mcgovern – both named to the Mar­itime Hockey League rookie all-star team for 2017-18.

Re­gard­ing last sea­son, it turned out to be a remarkable come­back year for He er­nan.

“I ac­tu­ally didn’t get o to a very good start, I was in­jured my rst game with the Bearcats and was out of ac­tion for six weeks,” He er­nan, 19, of St. Johns, NL re­called. “But, when I made it back into the lineup, I got more con dence each game. Over­all, it was a good sea­son, ev­ery­thing worked out.”

Earn­ing the rookie all- star sta­tus, He er­nan was out­stand­ing in late reg­u­lar-sea­son play and this car­ried into the playo s. e Bearcats forced a very strong Yar­mouth Mariners team to seven games be­fore los­ing their divi­sion semi nal. Game 3 was taken by Yar­mouth in over­time and Game 5 in tripleover­time.

O to a good start in his sec­ond year with the Bearcats, He er­nan is an as­sis­tant cap­tain.

“It de nitely helps hav­ing played a sea­son in the MHL. We have a young de­fence this year, four rookie

de­fence­man. I’m go­ing to try my best to help these guys both on and o the ice. I’m en­joy­ing be­ing an as­sis­tant cap­tain.”

Talk­ing with He er­nan last Fri­day, two nights ear­lier the Bearcats had lost on home ice 5-0 to Amherst Ram­blers; the fol­low­ing night they re­bounded in New Glas­gow for a 5-1 win over Pic­tou County Weeks Crush­ers.

“I think we han­dled the sit­u­a­tion pretty good,” said He er­nan. “Af­ter los­ing to Amherst, we got it back with a win in New Glas­gow. We showed that we’re not go­ing to let a loss get us down, we fought back, that’s a good sign. We’re a hard-work­ing team, we want to take care of our end of the rink rst and the rest will fall in place.”

He er­nan started in hockey at a very young age fol­low­ing the path of his two older broth­ers. His fa­ther

coached mi­nor hockey. As we talked about his early hockey – on a lighter side -- I asked the St. Johns na­tive if he had any early hockey dreams?

“Hockey was around our home as far back as I can re­mem­ber. I’ve al­ways been at the rink, whether watch­ing my broth­ers or play­ing my­self. Just like most other young hockey play­ers start­ing out, I had a hockey dream, I hoped to play some­day in the Na­tional Hockey League.”

The Bearcats coach/gen­eral man­ager Shawn Evans is no­tice­ably high on He er­nan. Fans are too re­minded to take a close look at No. 5 5.

Fol­low­ing a 4-1 loss in Yar­mouth Satur­day night, the Bearcats are at home Fri­day night against Pic­tou County, then Satur­day night, the Mariners are in town. Two im­port-

ant early sea­son games – both get un­der­way at the RECC at 7 p.m.

Pro­fes­sional hockey player Zach Sill, a Birch Hill na­tive, re­ceived a pleasant sur­prise be­fore his team’s re­cent sea­son opener in Prague, Czech Repub­lic.

With Sparta Praha host­ing Mount­field at O2 Arena, four Colch­ester County res­i­dents ap­peared. While on a trip to Europe, Dr. David Blair, his wife Bianca, and Ge­orge and Yvonne Lantz took in the game.

“Be­fore the game we spoke to Zach, he was pleased to speak to some­one from Canada,” Dr. Blair said. “ e game was like a playo game, it was played be­fore close to a ca­pac­ity crowd in the 18,000-seat

arena. Zach’s Sparta Praha team won 4-0. It was like a playo game, there was a lot of cheer­ing and the fans whis­tled a lot.”

Blair said Sill cen­tred the rst line and that his ex­cit­ing play and body-check­ing drew a lot of ap­plause from the large crowd.

“Zach showed lead­er­ship skills both be­fore the whis­tle was blown and af­ter. He was used in key sit­u­a­tions, Zach played a great game.”

Blair de­scribed Sill ap­pear­ing on a large over­head screen, to pro­mote hockey.

“I’m Zach Sill, I’m from Canada; if you would like to see me play, come out to our Sparta Praha games,” he beck­oned.

De­fence­man Cur­tis He er­nan stands be­fore a Truro Bearcats show­case, which pays trib­ute to him and team­mate Jack Mcgovern.

Zach Sill, of Sparta Praha in the Czech Ex­traloga (ELH), talks with an as­sis­tant coach prior to the team’s sea­son opener Sept. 14.

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