Bond issue: Local teams make annual trek to Monctonian

Kenn Oliver
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Such road trips can pay big dividends on the ice

— St. John's Privateers

For minor hockey players of any age or any level, the first big road trip of a season is always a highly anticipated event.

You get to bunk in hotel rooms with your buddies, eat out for every meal, and, in most cases, Mom and Dad are back at home, nowhere to be seen.

“As a hockey player, the time away from your home rink and the times in hotels, restaurants, hanging out, is the stuff you remember,” says St. John’s Privateers’ coach Doug Jackman, who takes his team on the road this week to the Monctonian AAA Challenge in Moncton, N.B., where the other three major midget teams from the Newfoundland and Labrador Major Midget League  — the St. John’s Maple Leafs, Central IcePak and Western Kings — will also be competing.

And while the primary focus of the trip to Moncton will be garnering experience against some stiff competition and showcasing individual talents in front of the many major junior and junior A scouts who make the Monctonian an annual stop, it also allows players to bond and build chemistry.

“The more time they spend together, the more guys seem to get along.  That shows up on the ice, with guys more willing to go to the wall  ... for each other once they’ve developed friendships and togetherness that’s not there in September,” explains Jackman.

Maple Leafs bench boss Eddie Oates says his team started coming together before the season even started. For a pre-season tourney in Corner Brook, the team rented chalets at the Humber Valley Resort, which he says was “a great environment” for the players.

“The first night, they had a rookie karoake contest. The second night, they had a rookie comedy night. It definitely formed some bonds,” recalls Oates, who expects those ties to grow deeper in Moncton later this week.

Jackman says the first road trip also gives coaches a chance to get to better know the players.

“You get to learn a lot about your hockey team and what kind of personalities you have there. You’re living together for five days, so you get to know what kind of character and leadership is there.”

Both the Leafs and Privateers fly out Wednesday morning. Before competing in  Moncton, the Leafs will play an exhibition game against Rothesay Netherwood, a private boarding school outside Saint John, N.B.

In years past, few teams headed to Moncton by air, choosing instead to bus across the island, ferry across the gulf and bus to the final destination, a cheaper, albeit time-consuming method of transportation.

Oates recalls one year when he took a team all the way to Bathurst, N.B., by bus and boat.

“That particular year, we had a pretty good squad and made it to the final, but because our ferry crossing was at midnight we had to play at 9:30 a.m., then bus all the way to North Sydney for a night crossing and then back across the island again. We spent more time on the bus than we did in Bathurst.”

koliver@thetelegram.com

Twitter@telykenn­

ROSTERS

St. John’s Maple Leafs

Schedule

Thursday, vs. Fredericton, N.B., Canadiens

Friday, vs. Southern Shore, N.S., Mustangs

Saturday, vs. Ottawa Jr. 67s

Roster

Forward

Tanner Whiffen, Matthew Smith, Ryan Kenny, Andrew Paul, Bobby Upshall, Ben Noseworthy, Chris Mallard 3rd year, Patrick Nicolle, Adam Caines, Andrew Barron, Coady Barron, Tyler Boland,

Defense

Riley Baggs, Tyler Hennessey, Liam Kennedy, Iain Gamba, Tyler Tobin, Michael Moret, Justin Boland

Goaltenders

Dylan Burry and Josh Carey

•••

St. John’s Privateers

Schedule

Thursday, vs. Charlottetown, P.E.I., Islanders

Friday, vs. St-Gabriel, Que., Vikings

Saturday, vs. Cole Harbour, N.S., Wolfpack

Roster

Forwards

Zachary Tucker, Ben Cleary, Liam Careen, Lucas Lush, Andrew Haley, Shayne Kavanagh, Brad Mitchelmore, Brett Vokey, Blake Dalton, Luke Tilley, Peter Kavanagh, Cameron Dunn

Defense

Matthew Caines, Stephen LeDrew, Luke Peddle, Matthew Downer, Lee Dower, Dylan O’Leary

Goaltenders

Christopher Smith and Mitchell Puddester

Organizations: Maple Leafs

Geographic location: Moncton, Newfoundland and Labrador, Bathurst Corner Brook Humber Valley Rothesay Saint John North Sydney Fredericton Ottawa Charlottetown

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Comments

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Recent comments

  • jamie
    November 14, 2012 - 23:44

    Looks like ottawa 67s will have a bit of newfoundland heart behind their beach. Travis crickard from st.johns coaches the ottawa team.

    • gary snow
      November 17, 2012 - 23:14

      Great hockey to watch in moncton AAA midget hockey. Our teams came here and press to be the best. you look at teams like ottawa, moncton, mississauga. They are head over heels above other teams here. Word is that the coach of ottawa is from nfld. It be great to see him spend time coachng in nfld.

  • Steve
    November 14, 2012 - 07:35

    Looks like somebody's child didn't make the cut!

  • derekk
    November 13, 2012 - 19:44

    nice to see but these days it's whoever got the money makes these teams

    • Marty
      November 14, 2012 - 15:52

      Hardly, kids make or don't make these teams based on ability. It can be costly to play at this level with the amount of practice, ice time and travel around the province for games and travel/accommodations outside of the province for Major Midget tournaments. If you strive to be the best you have to face the best and because of our small population that does require a travel commitment.